Hoover to get $1.4M in arbitration decision

Righty reliever went 8-2 with a 2.94 ERA in 67 games last season

Hoover to get $1.4M in arbitration decision

CINCINNATI -- For the first time in more than a decade, the Reds on Thursday argued in an arbitration hearing against one of their players in reliever J.J. Hoover. On Friday, the arbitration panel ruled in favor of Hoover.

The right-hander will receive $1.4 million in his one-year contract for 2016. The club had submitted a figure of $1.225 million. The last time the Reds went to an arbitration hearing against a player was 2004, when they won their case against pitcher Chris Reitsma.

"I'm very pleased that we won the case," Hoover told MLB.com. "It's a very interesting experience, to say the least. I'm thankful for my agents at the Ballengee Group and Jeff Randazzo. I had no idea that so much research and preparation went into a case. The players' union was fighting for me as well."

 

There was a $175,000 difference in the salary figure exchange between the two sides.

"It was a small amount. It could have gone either way," Reds president of baseball operations Walt Jocketty said. "We had decided that if we exchanged figures, we'd take the case to trial. Our guys did a good job with it. There are certainly no hard feelings.

"We felt it was important to let it be known we would go to a hearing if we couldn't come to an agreement on a deal."

Hoover expressed no bitterness with the Reds about having to go to arbitration.

"It's just part of the environment," he said. "I am thankful for the experience and seeing the inner workings of this process."

Hoover received a raise from the $535,000 he made last season, when he went 8-2 with a 2.94 ERA in 67 appearances. Over 64 1/3 innings, mostly in the eighth-inning set-up role, he walked 31 and struck out 52 and posted a 1.17 WHIP. Three of his 12 inherited runners scored against him.

Cincinnati's closer role is open following the December trade of Aroldis Chapman to the Yankees for four Minor Leaguers. Hoover will compete to become the team's closer for 2016. He has been working out all offseason in Cincinnati, and has recently been throwing in bullpen sessions.

"Everything is great," said Hoover, who planned to head to Arizona on Feb. 15, ahead of the Feb. 18 report date for Reds pitchers and catchers to Spring Training. "I feel good and I'm getting ready."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.