Post-lockout arbitration settlements are in full swing, and the San Francisco Giants are getting in on the action. Shortly after it was reported that they skipped arbitration with Darin Ruf by extending him for his final two years of team control, it was reported that the Giants avoided arbitration with outfielder Mike Yastrzemski, by agreeing to a $3.7 million deal for 2022.
Mike Yastrzemski, Giants agree at $3.7M, avoiding arbitration— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 22, 2022
This was Yastrzemski’s first year of being arbitration eligible, and he’s got three more passes through the system before he reaches free agency prior to the 2026 season. It’s a price that’s certainly a steal for the Giants given that Yaz has a career .836 OPS and 121 wRC+, so something tells me the team won’t be complaining about the bizarre arbitration system.
Yaz is coming off a down year by his high standards, and hit .224/.311/.457 in 2021, good for a .768 OPS and 106 wRC+, though he admittedly dealt with a lingering injury. He had pretty dramatic handedness splits — he sported a .848 OPS against righties and just a .513 OPS against lefties — so it will be interesting to see if the Giants use him strictly as a platoon player this year, or if he’s made some improvements against left-handed pitchers.
If he’s able to return to his 2020 form, when he had a .968 OPS, a 159 wRC+, and finished eighth in NL MVP voting, he could see himself with a much more lucrative figure when arbitration season rolls around next year.
I think everyone would be happy with that.