Miami Marlins pitcher David Phelps won his arbitration hearing which will pay the reliever $4.6 million instead of the $4.35 million the team offered in the offseason.
Having Phelps on the pitching staff will be key to the team’s new bullpen that is expected to be one of the best in the majors this season. It is believed Phelps will work toward the back end of the pen, with a chance to also serve as a closer in potential situations. Phelps spent part of last season in the bullpen, but also joined the rotation for the second half of 2016.
As Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reported on the decision, Phelps’ arbitration hearing was on Wednesday, with the panel's decision coming out on Thursday. The ruling now means all six of the Marlins' arbitration-eligible players are locked into salaries for 2017. It also means the core of the roster that was arbitration-eligible will be back in a Marlins’ uniform this season.
Since being dealt to the Marlins from the Yankees in December 2014, Phelps has been no stranger to attending an arbitration hearing. It's his second time. Prior to the 2015 season, he lost his case and made $1.4 million, instead of $1.875 million. This January, the righty was unable to reach agreement by the salary exchange deadline, which led to the arbitration panel hearing.
The move also means the Marlins have 18 players who cost the team $102.7 million this season. The 30-year-old right-hander was 7-6 with a 2.28 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 86 2/3 innings. He appeared in 64 games, five of them starts, and he finished with four saves.
Working out of the bullpen, he threw 62 1/3 innings, and his 11.84 strikeouts per nine innings were sixth best among all National League relievers. One reason for the spike in performance is reflected by an increase in velocity. His four-seam fastball average was 94.37 mph in '16, above the MLB average of 93.04 mph.
The Yankees selected Phelps in the 14th round of the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft. Phelps was named to the 2010 Eastern League All-Star Game. In 2011, he played for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. Phelps was named the Yankees minor league pitcher of the year for 2010.
He was added to the Yankees 40-man roster after the 2011 season to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, and on April 4, 2012, it was announced that Phelps had made the Yankees' Major League roster.