The first player vs. team salary arbitration hearings of 2014 were settled Saturday, with right-handed starter Andrew Cashner winning his desired $2.4 million in his case against the Padres and reliever Vinnie Pestano settling for $975,000 after losing his case with the Indians, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
San Diego was hoping to limit Cashner's salary to $2.275 million in his first season of arb eligibility, but the trio of arbitrators decided in favor of the oft-injured pitcher after hearing arguments from both team and player on Friday. The two sides had the opportunity over the last month to come to an agreement on a salary anywhere between the minimal $125,000 gap in exchanged figures, but could not do so. Once they sat down at the arbitration table Friday, the chance to find a middle ground ended -- arbitrators can only opt for one figure or the other.
The 27-year-old Cashner's new deal marks a salary increase of just over $500k, which is not too shabby for a guy who missed much of 2011 and 2012 with shoulder injuries. The tall Texan likely won his arbitration case based on his solid and healthy 2013, in which he posted a 3.09 ERA in 26 starts over a career-high 175 innings for the Friars. His velocity and strikeout rates were down last season, likely a result of his shoulder woes, but improvements in his walk, hit, and homer rates more than made up for those deficiencies.
Pestano -- the Tribe's first arbitration hearing foil since 1991 -- filed at an optimistic $1.45 million, but will have to settle for $975,000 instead in 2014. The 28-year-old is in just his first year of Super-Two eligibility, so while he's likely bummed about the nearly $500,000 he's lost, he still has three more years to up his salary considerably before hitting the open market. Pestano had some serious trouble keeping the ball in the park (1.5 HR/9) and free runners off the bases (5.3 BB/9) in 2013 -- and also dealt with some elbow issues -- but he still seems primed to be the Tribe's long-term setup man. The right-hander owns a 2.80 ERA and 10.6 K/9 over 167⅓ innings in his three full seasons in Cleveland's bullpen.
Cashner and Pestano were the only cases heard Friday, but there are certain to be at least a few more in the coming weeks. There were no arbitration cases in 2013 -- the first time that has ever happened -- but there were seven the year before that, so there's no really telling how many of the remaining cases will go to the table. As it stands, 14 arb-eligible players remain scheduled for hearings, including Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, and Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija. In addition to Pestano, the Indians have three other arb cases -- Michael Brantley, Justin Masterson, and Josh Tomlin -- that could go to a hearing.
In the four decades since the inception of salary arbitration in 1974, there have been 507 cases that have gone all the way to a hearing. Including Cashner and Pestano's cases, teams hold a rather large 292-215 advantage over players.
To keep up with all the arbitration goings ons, be sure to follow our Arbitration Tracker.