Author Archive

Evaluating the Mechanics of a Grievance Filed by the MLBPA

On June 23, it was reported that Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association had agreed to terms to resume play in 2020 following the sport’s suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This agreement came on the heels of the now-infamous March 26th agreement that was the subject of debate and contention between both sides of the bargaining table. Among other things, the agreement does not foreclose the right of the MLBPA to file a grievance and seek financial damages as it relates to the interpretation of the Agreement.

Specifically, the players may look to challenge whether the league did in fact negotiate in good faith as it relates to how many games were to be played in the abbreviated 2020 season. Further, the agreement also states that the Office of the Commissioner’s effort to issue a schedule for the 2020 season shall only be performed to the extent it is “…practicable and economically feasible.”

The term “economically feasible” is likely another point of dispute, as the league did not reveal any financial data, supposedly requested by the union, that would help to justify their claim that a season without fans would be a detriment to its bottom line. As the season now rolls along, we can explore the process by which the MLBPA may file a grievance to have its claims be heard and adjudicated.

What Is A Grievance?

Article XI of the parties’ 2017–2021 Basic Agreement (the CBA) sets forth the terms and conditions of grievance procedure. As defined, a “grievance” is “a complaint which involves the existence or interpretation of, or compliance with, any agreement, or any provision of any agreement, between the [MLBPA] and the Club…or between a Player and a Club.” Presumably, the March 26th Agreement would fall within this definition. Read the rest of this entry »

2021 Arbitration Preview: Lucas Giolito – Chicago White Sox

With the 2020 Major League Baseball season on hiatus due to the Coronavirus, one can’t help but wonder of a season that could have been. Do the Nationals, after losing slugger Anthony Rendon to the Angels, have what it takes to repeat as World Series champs? Can Pete Alonso be this season’s home run champion again? Will Trout win another MVP?

Hopefully we will know sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I took the liberty of looking at players who will become first-time arbitration eligible following the 2020 season, focusing on Lucas Giolito of the Chicago White Sox.

Rather than conduct an analysis based off of career numbers (excluding the vacant 2020 season), I utilized The BAT Projection System by Derek Carty, which is part of FanGraphs, to fill in the gap for 2020 season statistics.

The BAT is a standard projection system that predicts outcomes in accordance with basic factors such as hitter and pitcher, park quality, umpires, weather factors, and more. Read the rest of this entry »

How Brad Brach Re-Found Success With the Mets

Back in February, Justin Toscano wrote that when the Mets acquired reliever Brad Brach last August, the team asked Brach to do the one thing he couldn’t do with the Cubs in the first half of the season: throw his cutter.

The 6-foot-6, 33-year-old right-hander was designated for assignment by Chicago after signing a $1.65 million deal with the team during the 2018–19 offseason. Brach posted a 6.13 ERA in just 39.2 innings across 42 games for the Cubs in 2019.

After having spent most of the second half of 2019 with the Mets, Brach re-signed with the team on a $850,000 deal, with a player option for 2021, that can increase to $1.25 million with incentives.

From March 27 through August 10 of 2019, among 197 relief pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched during that time frame, Brach ranked 123rd in the league in GB% (41.1%), 70th in K/9 (10.21), 193rd in BB/9 (6.35), and 97th in FIP (4.12). Suffice it to say, Brach was not the most productive pitcher for the Cubs, thus justifying his being DFA’d from the team in the middle of the year.

When analyzing Brach’s career numbers, however, it is clear that his time with the Cubs is not indicative of his overall arc. From 2011–18 with the San Diego Padres and Baltimore Orioles (and half a season with the Braves), Brach pitched to a 3.08 ERA (132 ERA+), a 3.68 FIP, and a 9.6 K/9 in 456 IP.

Prior to 2019, Brach only recorded an ERA over 4.00 once (5.14 in seven innings in 2011 — his first year in the league) and has never allowed more than 28 earned runs in a season. Moreover, since 2013, Brach has posted an ERA+ over 100 in every year but 2019, including a 210 ERA+ in his All-Star 2016 campaign for Baltimore. Read the rest of this entry »