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Don’t blame David Phelps for (probably) seeking more money

Phelps had one of the best seasons of his major league career in 2016.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Miami was able to agree to new deals with all but one of its arbitration-eligible players last week, and it’s hard to fault the one who sought additional cash.

David Phelps, who proved to be a valuable piece in the back-end of the Marlins bullpen last season, filed at $4.6 million while the Marlins’ ideal figure was $4.325 million, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

This isn’t the first time Phelps and the Marlins were unable to avoid a hearing. Last offseason, Phelps filed at $1.875 million, and the Marlins won the hearing and were only obligated to pay him $1.4 million.

The difference between what Phelps is seeking and what the Marlins countered with in both instances is slight. The circumstances aren’t the same, though, because Phelps didn’t have nearly as much success in 2015 as he did in 2016.

As the Marlins fought for a Wild Card spot, Phelps proved he can pitch in the late innings consistently. Over 86.2 innings last season, he posted a 2.28 ERA and 2.80 FIP, both new career records.

Phelps was valuable the first few months of the season, and his role became more significant after Miami acquired Fernando Rodney from the Padres. He was used in bailout-type situations and called upon when either Rodney or A.J. Ramos were unavailable to serve in a setup capacity.

The Marlins payroll is set to increase again entering 2017, and the difference between Phelps’ desired salary and Miami’s offer in miniscule. After all, the Marlins were willing to spend millions on free agent closers Aroldis Chapman and Kenley Jansen. At this point, what difference does a few hundred thousand make?

Don’t fault David Phelps for seeking more money this offseason. Regardless of whether he gets it, he has proven why he deserves it.