Baltimore Orioles reliever Darren O'Day made history this morning. And the right-hander did so without even appearing in a game.
O'Day agreed to a two-year, $5.8 million deal with Baltimore on Monday to become the 133rd and final arbitration-eligible player to settle without going to a hearing. This is the first year such an occurrence has happened since the arbitration process came into existence in 1974.
Previously, the all-time low for arbitration hearings in a season was three, set in 2005 and then again in 2009 and 2011.
On the contrary, baseball has seen as many as 35 cases go to hearing in 1986. The practice used by teams in recent years to sign their young players to multi-year contracts has significantly reduced the amount of players who go to hearing.
Teams and players usually avoid having to go to a hearing at all costs. Aside from the friction and potential animosity it creates between a player and team, one side either wins or loses, meaning that the arbitrator either rewards the player with the full salary they demanded, or the arbitrator gives the lower salary to the player offered by the team. There is no compromise unlike the settlements achieved outside the hearing room.