Rays Reliever Reveals Why He Lost Arbitration Case
Ryan Thompson wanted $1.2 million. The Tampa Bay Rays offered $1 million. In the end, the Rays won.
Thompson was just one of many players to recently lose their arbitration cases in what has become a troubling trend for MLB. On Wednesday night, Thompson took to Twitter to explain why he lost, providing some unique insight into the process.
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According to Thompson, the Rays won the case by smartly poking holes in Thompson's resume, using a myriad of advanced stats and arguments to convince the third-party arbitrator that Thompson was not as valuable as he claimed to be, and thus not worth $1.2 million.
For Thompson, who was going through arbitration for the first time, this was eye-opening. He got some valuable insight into how front offices value their players and how they'll use anything at their disposal to operate efficiently and save money where they can.
Thompson's experience is also a good example of why teams should (and often try to) avoid arbitration whenever possible. Not only is it ugly and messy, but it also makes the player feel undervalued and unappreciated by the organization that he puts his body on the line for. Winning arbitration cases saves teams money, but usually not enough to offset the effect of pissing off their players and damaging morale.
Tampa Bay has one of the sport's lowest payrolls, so it usually doesn't have a choice. The team needs to save every dollar it can and has gotten quite good at winning arbitration cases as a result. Thompson saw that first-hand this winter, learning a valuable ($200K, to be exact) lesson about how the business of baseball works.