The Los Angeles Angels had to go to arbitration hearings with two of their six eligible players, José Suarez and Taylor Ward. Suarez’s case — a less lucrative one — was due up first before the larger case in Ward’s. Suarez and the Angels were not terribly far apart in their initial filings, as Suarez put his 2024 figure at $1.35 million and the Angels put it at $925 thousand.
After hearing the case, a judge ruled in favor of the Angels, and Suarez will be paid $925 thousand in 2024.
Once a team and a player are unable to agree on a compromised figure between the two filed numbers, they go to an arbitration hearing. Their, a judge hears the cases of both sides and then picks one figure over the other, as there are no more compromises allowed once the hearing begins.
Suarez had a diminished case after a difficult 2023 campaign. 2022 was Suarez’s best year as a pro, as he tossed 109 innings to the tune of a 3.96 ERA, 1.248 WHIP and 103 strikeouts compared with 33 walks. He was arguably one of the Angels best pitchers in 2022 behind Shohei Ohtani, and he instantly became a potential fixture in the rotation next to Reid Detmers and Patrick Sandoval.
But he could not replicate anywhere close to that level of production in 2023. He pitched 33.2 innings at the big league level, posting an 8.29 ERA with a 1.96 WHIP. He was limited by a left shoulder strain that hindered both his availability and production.
That made him a fascinating arbitration case heading into the offseason. Based on the 2022 numbers, Suarez has the potential to be a legitimate MLB starter. However, the more recent figures — even limited by injury — tell a far different story.
This is why the arbiter ultimately decided in favor of the Angels, as their figure clearly was a better representation of who Suarez is currently and not who he was at his best two seasons ago.
Taylor Ward’s case with Angels
The Angels and Ward are even closer in their pre-determined figures than Suarez and the Angels if you take into account the scale of the numbers. The Angels filed at $4.3 million for Ward in 2024 while the outfielder filed himself at $4.8 million. A judge will hear both sides and determine if he is worth that extra $500K or if the Angels will get slightly more financial flexibility for 2024.