Joyner Files for Arbitration as Talks With Angels Stall
Reviving memories of last year’s contract hassle with the Angels, first baseman Wally Joyner filed for salary arbitration Tuesday.
Attorney Barry Axelrod said that he has been unable to generate meaningful discussions with Angel General Manager Mike Port, creating a situation similar to last winter, when Joyner eventually staged a spring training holdout before agreeing to the Angels’ long-standing offer of $340,000.
At that time, Joyner had not been in the major leagues long enough to qualify for arbitration, Now, having the required 3 years. he is obviously prepared to pursue that process.
“I don’t get it,” Axelrod said of the Angels’ refusal to hold substantive talks. “I don’t understand it unless the Angels simply want to go to arbitration.”
Eligible players have until Monday to file for arbitration. The club and player must exchange salary figures 3 days after the player files. An impartial arbitrator then chooses one of the two figures after a hearing generally usually scheduled for mid-February. No hearing can be conducted after Feb. 20. The club and player can continue to negotiate until the hearing begins.
Joyner and the Angels, therefore, must exchange salary figures Friday. Axelrod said the Angels’ only offer was for the same $340,000 that Joyner earned last year. He refused to say what Joyner is now seeking. Port would not discuss individual negotiations.
Asked about a multiyear contract, he said, “A multiyear contract represents security, but it seems pretty far fetched in light of the fact that we can’t even discuss 1 year. We just can’t get a proposal out of the Angels.”
Owner Gene Autry recently said that Port needed to establish a friendlier and less militant relationship with his players. He refused to respond to Axelrod’s comments or Joyner’s filing.
“It’s part of the system,” he said. “We have discussions under way with many of our players. Believe it or not, we want to resolve all of them amicably.”
Much has been made of the fact that Joyner’s home run production fell from 34 to 13 last year. Axelrod believes Joyner might have carried the memory of his futile negotiations into the season and was pressing early.