The SF Giants began the offseason with six arbitration-eligible players. They agreed to terms with five, leaving J.D. Davis as the lone exception. The Giants and Davis went to arbitration recently with the veteran infielder winning his case according to Robert Murray of FanSided.
SF Giants corner infielder set to earn $6.9 million in 2024 after winning arbitration case
The Giants and Davis exchanged figures in January. Davis and his representatives sought $6.9 million for the upcoming season, but the Giants countered with $6.55 million. It is not uncommon for both team and player to be far apart in determining a player's salary when going to arbitration, but this is not one of those cases.
I realize that this sounds like the Giants are penny-pinching when they have to go to arbitration over $350,000, but all teams do it. The Giants are not unique in that regard. There are not many opportunities to depress costs on the 40-man roster, but going to arbitration is one lever for that.
For years, the Giants avoided going to arbitration with players. It felt like an intentional approach to foster goodwill between both parties. However, in recent years they have joined many other teams throughout the league in adopting a file-and-trial approach. With this, teams will cease negotiations if they cannot agree to terms before the deadline. They will let a third-party arbiter decide at that point.
I really do not like this approach at all. The Giants are a billion-dollar organization. They should not be squabbling over $350,000. There are far more important matters to figure out like what is the rotation going to look like in 2024. However, this is the way baseball is trending and there is some good that came out of this process for Davis.
The veteran infielder is going to earn a small bump above what the Giants countered with and a sizable raise over his $4.2 million salary in 2023. He was one of the more consistent Giants players in 2023, slashing .248/.325/.413 (104 wRC+) with 18 home runs, 69 RBI, and 61 runs in 546 plate appearances. This includes a 9.5 percent walk rate, 27.8 percent strikeout rate, and a .165 ISO.
Plus, Davis showed nice improvement with the glove. The defensive metrics were a bit mixed as he was worth -11 Defensive Runs Saved and +5 Outs Above Average at third base, but he passed the eye test.
Even though he hit some rough patches in 2023, the right-handed bat was a solid contributor. And, he was rewarded nicely for his work on the field.