Baseball economics are fairly difficult to comprehend. For example, if you have a player who sees his home run and RBI production drop by nearly 50% from one season to the next, what's the logical course of action?
Give him a $2 million raise (duh!).
The Padres did just about that with 3B Chase Headley on Friday, avoiding arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $10.5 million dollar contract.
Headley had what the Padres thought was a breakout season in 2012, hitting 31 home runs and driving in 115. But Headley battled injuries through 2013 and his just 13 homers with 65 RBI. Not willing to commit to a long-term contract, but also not willing to see Chase have another power surge in another uniform yet, the Padres are giving him one more shot.
San Diego also got IF/OF Kyle Blanks to agree to a one-year contract worth about $988,000. Blanks has shown flashes of brilliance but never been able to stay healthy. He played in a career-high 88 games (getting 280 at-bats) last year, hitting eight home runs and driving in 35.
Blanks has one year of arbitration left.
So, the Padres were able to stave off a hearing with all their players, save one. Starting pitcher Andrew Cashner remained unsigned, which is a bit of a head-scratcher when you look at the numbers.
Arbitration hearings are conducted when the player and the team both file contract offers and an independent 3rd party rules which one to go with. Cashner asked for $2.4 million. The Padres put in for $2.275. How they weren't able to work out a $125,000 dollar difference (the smallest among all 39 players who will have an arbitration hearing and pocket change in today's MLB economic climate) is beyond me.
Cashner showed he has the stuff to be a front-of-the-rotation stopper in 2013, setting career highs for starts (26) and innings pitched (175). He really seemed to figure things out at the end of the season. Cashner did not go fewer than 7.0 innings or give up more than three runs in any of his last seven starts.
MLB arbitration heargins are conducted in the first three weeks of February.