I don’t think you’ll find any Cubs fans interested in being high and mighty about arbitration-related decisions right now – we would’ve liked to have seen a settlement between the Cubs and Willson Contreras. So this isn’t one of those dumping-on-the-Sox situations.
Instead, it’s just a wild, wild bit of news involving a star player, and underscoring how bizarrely out of whack the financials of the game can be sometimes. And how ridiculous arbitration negotiations can get.
In the lead up to yesterday’s deadline to exchange arbitration salary requests, most teams came to agreements on 2022 contracts for their arbitration-eligible players. For those who could not, the player then submits a number, the team submits a number, and an arbitration hearing is scheduled for next month. In the case of the White Sox and excellent starter Lucas Giolito, the separation in the exchange of figures was incredibly small: Giolito requested $7.5 million, the White Sox requested $7.3 million. That $200,000 difference? It’s just 2.7% of the White Sox number. Are they really going to drag one of their best players in an arbitration hearing over a 2.7% difference?
But it’s actually worse than that. It turns out that, in those negotiations that came BEFORE the filings, the sides had gotten within $50,000 before the talks shut down:
Lucas Giolito described going to arbitration with White Sox as ‘frustrating, very unfortunate, disheartening.’
Said it came down to $50K difference prior to filing.
‘It’s like, come on. Very upsetting.’
— Daryl Van Schouwen (@CST_soxvan) March 23, 2022
Oof. That’s just 0.7% of the White Sox’s offer. They decided to draw the line and reach the point of numbers and a possible arbitration hearing over 0.7%. It’s mind boggling.
To be sure, it’s possible the sides will nevertheless settle from here – and my word should they – but it’s already, as Giolito said, very unfortunate and disheartening.