James Loney Avoids the Most Depressing Arbitration Case in History

Earlier today on Twitter, I joked that if the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw couldn’t come to some sort of an agreement before reaching the arbitration table, I’d love to have the chance to sit in on that hearing. What could the Dodgers possibly say to argue Kershaw’s case? “Uh, if he was so good, how come Juan Uribe was so bad?” What I didn’t say at the time was that the inverse of that situation – James Loney‘s arbitration hearing – would have been equally as hilarious, just in a completely different way. Can you imagine Loney’s representatives trying to come up with ways to bolster his case, particularly since his usual crutch of “RBI guy” didn’t even really happen in 2011?

Unfortunately for purveyors of high comedy, we won’t get a chance to envision that, since Loney has avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $6.375m. If that sounds like a lot for a player of Loney’s talents, well, just remember that the arbitration process isn’t exactly the free market. And if he’s anything like the Loney we saw over the last two months of 2011, he’ll actually be underpaid. (When he’s not that Loney, of course, feel free to commence moaning.)

Updating the numbers from earlier today, the Dodgers now have about $79m committed to 16 players under contract for 2012, plus the approximately $5m or so that will be spent on minimum salary pre-arbitration types like Dee Gordon, Kenley Jansen, and A.J. Ellis. The only outstanding arbitration case, Kershaw, still looms…