Not Even a Month Into 2023 and the MLB Salary Arbitration Hearings Are Kicking Off

dean bertoncelj /
dean bertoncelj /

January 30th is early in the year for any court to be starting. With the opening pitch of MLB season training coming on February 24th, it’s necessary to have this early start. This time, the Los Angeles Angels and outfielder Hunter Renfroe are in court to decide his future.

Despite turning 31 on January 28th, Renfroe wanted to see his salary go from $7.65 million to $11.9 million going forward. Surprisingly, the Angels are not against such a price hike, but they want to save a few hundred thousand to spend elsewhere. With Melinda Gordon, Scott Buchheit, and John Stout deciding the arbitration, the Angels have requested that they come back with an $11.25 million figure.

Marking the first in-person arbitration since 2020, the two years of Zoom arguments have been a blessing for MLB, but many players felt unheard as Zoom can be a largely impersonal tool. For now, he and his lawyers will be waiting until the hearing ends for a verdict. With 28 other players scheduled to have hearings before the February 17th deadline, there is a lot to go before spring training kicks off.

As it stands, teams are winning most of these decisions. With 334 victories in arbitration, they have greatly out presented the players and their 251 wins. Despite it starting in 1974, it took until the late 80s before players started using it so frequently. Given the changes baseball underwent at that time, and how much better players started hitting, it makes sense.

To be fair to Renfroe, his batting average came in at .255 with 29 homers and 72 RBIs for Milwaukee last season. Traded to the Angels in November, he is one of very few to try and take a new team to arbitration. Given how close they are to the figure, he will still get a raise either way.