Thoughts on Gausman, Brach and the Orioles’ arbitration process -
Dan Connolly

Thoughts on Gausman, Brach and the Orioles’ arbitration process


The Orioles said they were going to “file and trial” with the three players with whom they exchanged arbitration figures last month.

I didn’t see that happening. It’s just not the Orioles’ style.

They went to a hearing with one, catcher Caleb Joseph. And they won it, with the arbitration panel choosing the club’s $700,000 figure over Joseph’s $1 million.


The Orioles settled with another, agreeing to a deal with starter Kevin Gausman. First reported by Fox Sports on Sunday, Gausman agreed to a one-year, $3.45 million deal. He was seeking $3.5 million and the O’s had filed at $3.15 million. The Orioles agreed to a deal above the mid-point, and Gausman could pick up another $100,000 in incentives for starts made in 2017.

What that means is that the Orioles didn’t take a hardline with Gausman; they left plenty of room in the negotiations to avoid a hearing. Seems like a smart move for both parties, given just how important Gausman is to the success of this 2017 squad.

Now the Orioles have one more case to settle or take to a hearing: Brad Brach next week. The All-Star reliever filed for $3.05 million while the Orioles countered with $2.525 million.

The gap — $525,000 — isn’t huge. And Brach is one of the more reasonable, level-headed guys on the team, although it always takes two sides to reach an agreement. So, will the Orioles and Brach settle?

I honestly don’t know.

A couple weeks ago, I put the over-under of arb hearings at one. If asked then to handicap the chances of going to a hearing with the three arb-eligible players, I would have said that they’d settle with Gausman, go to a hearing with Joseph and it would be 50-50 with Brach.

I guess if the Orioles want to show they were serious with their “trial-and-file” proclamation, they should take it to a hearing. But I’m not sure that matters.

The Orioles always have the leverage in these situations. After their victory over Joseph, they are now 11-1 in arb hearings during majority owner Peter Angelos’ tenure. Their legal muscle is already flexed without needing to do it again.

It would be easier for both parties if a settlement is reached and there are no avoidable distractions at the start of spring training. I can’t remember the last time Orioles have had two arb hearings in one year. That hasn’t been their style. And I’m still not sure it will be, despite earlier pronouncements.

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