The entire baseball arbitration process is brutally awkward. If an eligible player and team cannot agree on a salary for the upcoming season, they each submit fixed offers to an independent number cruncher, and rather than that independent number cruncher deciding exactly how much that player should be payed, he decides between the two offers based on the arguments presented.
Essentially, said number cruncher gets to watch both parties suggest how wrong each other is, respectively, and then side with one over the other. Sets quite the stage for a working relationship, no?
Well, on Wednesday new Cincinnati Reds pitcher Alex Wood officially found out how much he’ll be earning during the 2019 season, as the arbiter sided with him over his new employer, as ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported earlier.
Trevor Bauer, Gerrit Cole and Alex Wood all have won their arbitration cases, a league source tells ESPN. The players now lead, 6-3.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) February 13, 2019
That means Wood will take hom $9.65 million for his efforts in 2019 rather than the $8.7 million initially suggested by the Reds. Nothing like an extra million bucks, right?
Wood, now 28, took home an even $6 million during the 2018 season, and 2019 will be his final year of arbitration eligibility before he can become a free agent at the end of the season. That, of course, is barring a contract extension, something that new teammate Sonny Gray inked earlier this winter to avoid the entire free agency process.
Wood has pitched to a stellar 3.20 ERA combined over the last two seasons, topping 150 innings in each while compiling 4.7 total bWAR in that span. The Reds will hope that he, Gray, and fellow newbie Tanner Roark can help solidify a starting rotation that has been busted by pretty much every single batter who has faced it over the previous three seasons as the Reds try to emerge from the NL Central cellar for the first time since the 2013 season. And now that the paperwork is officially out of the way, one can only hope his transition from the Los Angeles Dodgers to the Reds can get going on a smoother track.