The Minnesota Twins have failed to reach deals with Jepsen and Plouffe before the arbitration filing deadline
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The deadline for teams to reach deals with arbitration eligible players before both sides must file and exchange figures expired yesterday at 1pm. The Minnesota Twins had six players eligible for arbitration: Kevin Jepsen, Casey Fien, Eduardo Escobar, Trevor Plouffe, Eduardo Nunez and Tommy Milone. Fien, Escobar, Nunez and Milone all reached one year deals with the club before the deadline. Jepsen and Plouffe did not agree to deals before the deadline.
This does not mean that Jepsen and Plouffe are definitely going to an arbitration hearing against the team but they are heading in that direction. They’ve exchanged and filed figures with the Twins and MLB—an arbitration hearing will be scheduled. However, the Twins can agree to a deal with the pair before hearing begins in February. Some teams operate under a system known as “file and trial.” Under this philosophy, a team will not negotiate a one year deal to avoid arbitration beyond the filing deadline (yesterday). Some “file and trial” teams will negotiate multi-year deals and others won’t negotiate at all. Only a few teams have this way of doing business and the Twins aren’t one of them—or at least haven’t been.
The filed numbers have been reported for both players. The Twins filed for $5.05 million on Jepsen and Jepsen countered with $5.4 million. Plouffe is asking for $7.95 million and the Twins are offering $7 million. MLBTR projected Jepsen would receive $6 million and Plouffe $7.7 million. If these cases go to an arbitration hearing, the panel will choose either the team’s offer or the players ask—no middle ground. This generally forces both sides to select reasonable figures (someone didn’t tell Jake Arrieta and the Cubs that. They are $5.5 million apart.). Compared to the number of arbitration eligible players, actually arbitration hearings are quite rare. The Twins have not taken a player to a hearing since Kyle Lohse in 2006.
For a full list of arbitration filing numbers across the whole league click here.
The $350,000 difference between what the team is offering and what Jepsen is asking for may seem inconsequential and almost petty. Why didn’t the team just hand him the cash? Well, $350,000 is still meaningful to a team near its budget limit like the Twins are. Also, these numbers are the figures both sides have filed for the arbiter to select between; these are not necessarily the numbers both sides negotiated with. This explains it well:
It’s a good sign that Jepsen and Plouffe’s asks are fairly close to the team’s offers. Even if the cases go to arbitration, neither side will be too disappointed. It’s likely both cases will be resolved before hearings start.