SARASOTA, Fla. - As the Orioles went through their early stretching exercises this morning prior to the first full-squad workout, manager Buck Showalter walked through a line of players on one of the back fields and yelled, “Brach won!”
Teammates applauded reliever Brad Brach, the volume a little louder than the standard golf clap. One player demanded that Brach pay for dinner tonight.
The price of winning an arbitration hearing.
Brach will receive $3.05 million instead of the $2.525 million offered by the club. He made $1.250 million last season.
The Orioles are 11-2 in hearings since Peter Angelos became majority owner, the only previous loss coming against pitcher Ben McDonald in 1995. They’re 3-1 since hiring Dan Duquette as executive vice president of baseball operations, defeating pitcher Brad Bergesen in 2012, outfielder Alejandro De Aza in 2015 and catcher Caleb Joseph this spring.
The Orioles settled with Kevin Gausman before his hearing and no longer have any cases pending.
General counsel H. Russell Smouse was 8-0 in hearings, but he retired and didn’t handle any of the cases this spring.
Brach was 10-4 with a 2.05 ERA and 1.038 WHIP in 71 appearances, and his 2.6 WAR ranked sixth among American League relievers. He was chosen to his first All-Star team.
Meanwhile, shortstop J.J. Hardy is absent so far from today’s workout. He’s been sick for the past few days and was in street clothes this morning.