The New York Yankees know better than anybody that arbitration hearings can get extremely ugly and ruin a long-term relationship.
In many senses, the relationship between a player and his team is very similar to a romantic relationship or a friendship: it involves trust, patience, and understanding.
At the moment, the Yankees are offering star outfielder Aaron Judge, who hit 39 homers and drove in 98 runs last year, $17 million.
The player’s camp is asking for $21 million, so the gap is large: $4 million.
Unless the two sides come to an agreement (an extension is a possibility as long as the regular season hasn’t started), they will go to salary arbitration.
That process involves a neutral panel siding with one side or the other after hearing each one’s argument.
The result of the salary arbitration won’t be any number between the two proposals: it’s either $17 million or $21 million.
Arbitration Hearings Are Rarely Pretty
The Yankees have a bad memory about arbitrations, and it involves former star reliever Dellin Betances.
Randy Levine ruined Dellin Betances during that 2017 arbitration process https://t.co/tiedyDnj97
— Captain Rougie (@CaptainRougie) March 23, 2022
Betances was one of MLB’s very best relievers from 2014 to 2018, posting insane strikeout numbers and minuscule ERAs.
In 2017, he was asking for $5 million and the Yankees were offering $3 million.
Yankees’ president Randy Levine completely ripped Betances after the arbitration ruled on the Yankees’ side.
He said, among other things, that: “$5 million goes to elite closers. Pitchers who pitch the ninth inning and have a lot of saves. Dellin didn’t have that record. He never did.”
The team criticized Betances’ slow delivery and pointed out that it led to many stolen bases allowed.
They were picking on their own pitcher trying to make more money!
Imagining the same happening with Judge could completely destroy his trust in the organization and ruin the chance of a long-term deal.
Stay tuned, because things could get ugly.