Economic uncertainty shows in MLB-wide arbitration decisions

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Baseball isn’t so recession-proof after all.

Until about an hour ago, no one really knew how the American economic slump would impact baseball. Now that the arbitration decisions are in, it’s clear that teams are being far more cautious than usual and that the free agent market for lesser players may not be as robust as those free agents had hoped.

To me, three players and their teams’ respective decisions highlight this economic issue. Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell and Adam Dunn were not offered arbitration by, respectively, the Yankees, Phillies and Diamondbacks. In all three cases, the teams are not actively looking to retain their former players, and in any other year, these three players would have been offered arbitration. This year, though, the specter of an arbitration acceptance looms large.

Leaving aside Bobby Abreu for now — because we’ll get to him later today — the most glaring example is Pat Burrell. I don’t think the Phillies expect to re-sign Burrell, and entering the off-season, Burrell didn’t expect to re-sign with the Phillies. As the economy has tanked, though, mid-30s outfielders who aren’t Manny Ramirez must not be in high demand.

If the Phillies, Diamondbacks and Yankees all declined to offer arbitration to these players, the teams’ GMs must feel that there is a better-than-usual chance these players would accept binding arbitration. Either the market for corner outfielders isn’t there or it is not as strong as these players would hope. After all, it would behoove these three, expecting large contracts, to ride out the economic tide for one more year while playing at a salary equal to or exceeding their 2008 total.

So Brian Cashman said no. Ruben Amaro, Jr. said no. Josh Byrnes said no. It makes sense on the one hand, and it doesn’t on the other.

Of course, now, these three players are slightly more attractive targets and more so Dunn than the other two. Teams who sign them won’t have to surrender money and draft picks, and the three of them are now at the whim of market forces. Those forces, by the way, as the Cubs’ decision not to offer arbitration to Kerry Wood shows, don’t figure to be too strong. Teams just can’t run the risk of saddling themselves with last year’s merchandise and last year’s price in this year’s economy.

In the end, this won’t impact the deals that Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and Manny Ramirez get. Those guys have tens of millions of reasons to feel good, and the players at the top will get their deals. But everyone below them must looking at the arbitration carnage tonight in fear. Now we know, at least, why the Hot Stove has been so cool lately.

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  • John D

    I see the pain the everyday person feels in the economy all the time, and our trends show this continuing for years, not months……..any older corner outfielder that thinks they will get a better contract (unless they have comeback year) IMO is deluding themselves.

    • Billy Beane

      “better” in what sense? right now, these players have no contract so anything would be better.

  • CB

    Tonight may have signaled that the equilibrium price point for many major league players is changing and most likely moving downwards.

    I don’t think we’ve seen ever seen this before during the free agent era. For example, there were 11 type A/ type B outfielders on the market. Only 4 were offered arbitration – one of whom was Manny, an all time great, and another of whom was Milton Bradley who should arguably only be considered a DH.

    The decision to not offer arbitration is not only significant because it indicates the GM’s are concerned about the economy and their revenues.

    It’s significant because it indicates that GM’s are uncertain on how to price the value of their players right now. That is enormous. Or more specifically, it indicates that GM’s no longer feel that past precedent is a good barometer for the current financial value of a player.

    Arbitration is biased towards the existing pay scales. GM’s tonight indicated strongly that they have limited confidence in the validity of those existing pay scales.

    Cashman’s decision to not offer Abreu arbitration now looks much better than it did even a few hours ago. Cashman read the market correctly. In arbitration Abreu would have been making $17-18M next year. To be paying him that much when Pat Burrell could only be making $10M or so would be ludicrous.

    This is a potential sea change in baseball. The entire market as we’ve seen it develop over time for many classes of players may now only have limited relevance.

    The big threat to the US economy right now is deflation. It’s already happening and looks like it will get worse.

    We may be seeing the beginning of price deflation in baseball as well.

    • Chip

      I agree and I’d say that’s the reason the Yankees get CC. Nobody else has offered within 40 million dollars of them. If teams are starting to get scared off by players staying near their current salaries, are they going to be afraid to pay an injury-prone pitcher (Burnett/Sheets) big money?

      With teams afraid of paying 15 million for one year of Dunn, wouldn’t that bring the price down significantly? I mean now a 4 year 50 million deal doesn’t sound too crazy. Who else is going to give it to him?

      • http://jobatheheat jobatheheat

        Good point. I say do it Lock it up Dunn for 3 yrs 40 mill +incentives

  • http://jobatheheat jobatheheat

    Great article. Looks like Cash was right after all. The only thing that realy sticks out is the Angels offerered Jon Garland arb. Yet there suposedly in the CC hunt.That doesnt make lots of sense to me. Looks like now there gona get stuck with Garland. Any info on Garlands last contract would be apreciated. thanks

    • Ben K.

      Garland just wrapped up a three-year deal that paid him $7M in 2006, $10M in 2007 and $12M in 2008.

      • http://jobatheheat jobatheheat

        thanks for the info. What Is he looking at min due to getting arb. money wise

        • Ben K.

          We’re a little hazy on that point. If the Angels have to offer him at least 80 percent of 2008 salary, he’d be due for at least $9.6M. But we’re not sure that applies to contractual free agents as opposed to arbitration-eligible younger players. Generally, no player entering arbitration has ever made less one year than he did the year before.

          Unless I’m completely misreading the market, Garland would be a fool not to take arbitration.

          • http://jobatheheat jobatheheat

            thats what i was thinking. Hes gotta accept offer. specialy in this market now.

          • CB

            LA Times is reporting that Garland will accept arbitration.

            The Angels played the Garland and Oliver arbitration situations more like teams would have last year.

            Now they may get burned by it a little. Garland isn’t going to make less next year. Garland at $12M for even one year might look fairly bad.

            After the World Series not many people would have guessed Garland would have settled for a one year arbitration deal given his age.

          • J.R.

            Or this might be the first time a player makes less.

          • http://jobatheheat jobatheheat

            I also believe the yanks were right about the angels not concerning them with cc. I believe this Garland offer is proof of that. What are your thoughts. Any importance .

            • J.R.

              Well this is good for the Yankees, it locks up another $10 million of the angels and another spot in the rotation. It makes it alot harder for them to pursue Sabathia.

          • christopher

            or if boras is his agent

          • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

            “Unless I’m completely misreading the market, Garland would be a fool not to take arbitration.”

            I do not agree there. I see a reason as Garland to possibly do either.

            Any player and especially a pitcher could pop something and be effectively done for his career so if the total dollar amount and years are higher on say a three year deal I could see the reason to do that.

            Also if the economy as a whole or just the market for MLB players swings down for the next three or four years he could be stuck with just that one nice payday for the one year.

            Say he has a bad year?

            Maybe he would like to make sure his family is in the same area for 3 or 4 years. I think this market and the way it is opens up people to a lot more creative options and instead of just the normal money grab talent may tell their agents they want to do something different than what they are normally advised.

            It is a brave new world in baseball as of last night (but guess what everybody is still going to be rich or at least very well off compared to the common man)

            • Ben K.

              There’s another side of this though. What team is going to sign Jon Garland in a bad market when just about every day has some AAA journeyman who can put up the same numbers for a lot less money?

              Garland was Darrell Rasner with a slightly better defense behind him.

              • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

                I think Garland is a better pitcher than Rasner. I think somebody would give him at least a two possibly three year deal.

                But it may still be in his interest to take a one year deal. How many people thought Cliff Lee was going to be Cy Young material this past year?

                People take a chance on pitching, more so than any other position.

                • Ben K.

                  Ok. I didn’t clearly make my point.

                  Garland may be a marginally better pitcher than Rasner, but is he worth $11 million more than Rasner? Let’s take a look using some of those far-fetched stats you don’t seem to be so happy about.

                  Garland: 32 starts, 6.15 IP per start, 10.8 H/9 IP, 4.12 K/9 IP, 2.7 BB/9 IP, 1.05 HR/9 IP.

                  Rasner (as a starter): 20 starts, 5.25 IP per start, 11.1 H/9 IP, 5.22 K/9 IP, 3 BB/9 IP, 1.11 HR/9 IP.

                  Rasner was slightly worse than Garland and earned a few hundred thousand as compared to Garland’s $12 million. Why pay Garland that much when you can get his level of effectiveness for a whole lot less?

  • J.R.

    Not sure if the Red sox got the memo. It looks like they offered Varitek arbitration. I wouldnt want a catcher hitting .220 and making $11 million for a year.

    I deffinently wouldn’t want to sign a catcher to a 4 year deal and $52 mill (what boras is asking) and give up 2 high draft picks. Tek just might accept.

    • Ben K.

      The Red Sox may just have figured that’s the best way out of a bad situation. Boston loves Varitek, but the Red Sox don’t. So in a bad market, they offer him arbitration, keep him around for one year, and see if he sucks. It will be a lot easier to cut him loose next year after a bad season.

      Conversely, he may decline because if he thinks it’s tough for a 36-year-old catcher to get a long-term deal, wait until he’s 37 and another year worse. For the sake of job security, Varitek is one player who may be willing to take years over money right now.

      • DonnieBaseballHallofFame

        Yeah I agree. I think the move Boston made was very smart. It is kinda like OK BUDDY YOU WANT TO PLAY HERE STILL? Here you go.

        It gives them a much easier public stance (and they are all about this) with their fans.

        Great move by Theo and Co.

  • pat

    Hah maybe cashman set the market. Other gms didnt know what to do so they followed cashmoney’s lead.

    • J.R.

      It looks like they all smelled a cooling market for corner outfielders and didn’t want to inflate their value by attaching draft picks to them also.

  • http://jobatheheat jobatheheat

    does any one have Sheets contract info and when is his decision to accept or decline due.deadline

    • pat

    • christopher

      doubt he will..the only market there seems to be this season is for quality starting pitchers and with th yankees expected to offer 3 (an i think 4 when they eventually offer sheets a deal) that market will be there. there is also th emets, boston to a lesser extent, and the angels all in need of SP help. the only way sheets stays a brewer is if they offer a multiyear deal

      if you were him, with his arm problems. wouldnt you prefer to make 12M over 4 years or 15 million next year with the very real chance you will need to go under the scope.

      atill thhink the yanks are playing it too safe, especially with petitte unless they really dont want him back

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Player deadline to accept/reject the arb offer is December 7th.

  • christopher

    not offering arbitration to save money in 2 gyes the team could use if need be followinf this self-imposed edict to lower payroll has me worried about how things will be run in the future. George was a great business man but – on the field- he put profits aside to win titles. he made plenty in the marketting, tv deals etc.

    I knew he would enivitably leave, but i was hoping his sons would follow his footsteps, but so far it doesnt loook that way. Everyone will kill me for this, but i think it began last season when the Santana rumors ceased after petitte re-upped. I dont think they would go after CC if they didnt have money to play with. I honeslly think cashman has a very specific budgett with no wiggle room like seasons past. This also seems to remove any market there may have been for matsui had they wished for an upgrade at that position

    Dashes my hopes of seeing CC, Sheet, Manny and Dunn all being signed.

    • Mike P

      If those were your hopes, you were deluded. Matsui has very little trade value regardless of the FA market. GMs just aren’t stupid like that. As much as lowering budget, it’s the flexibility Cashman’s after. I think he still has plenty of $ to play with, he just doesn’t want to set his budget for 4 years down the line every offseason.

      If you need an example, look at Matsui’s contract. It’s not going to hamstring them budget wise, but I bet Cashman wishes they had given him a shorter contract or with a lower AAV so there might be a chance of trading him. Long contracts and high AAV are a concern whenever you want to make room on your roster, not just budget wise.

    • Mike P

      And if you’re worried the brothers are frivolous, just look at the contracts they dished out last season. I doubt the rest of the league considers that as not spending as much.

    • Joseph P.

      “Dashes my hopes of seeing CC, Sheet, Manny and Dunn all being signed.”

      That would be against MLB rules. You can only sign three Type A free agents. Other than your own, of course.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        Perhaps that’s not true:

        “If there are 14 or fewer Type A or Type B free agents available, no team can sign more than one type A or B player. If there are between 15-38, no team can sign more than two. If there are between 39 and 62, there’s a limit of three. However, teams can sign as many Type A or B free agents as they’ve lost, regardless of the limits above.

        I don’t know if Moose retiring counts as “losing” a free agent, but if Moose, Andy, Bobby, and Pudge all leave, if I’m reading that right we can sign six Type A’s and one Type B if we so chose.

        • Joseph P.

          But what’s not clear, and what I don’t expect to explain, is whether you have to offer arbitration for that to count.

          • steve (different one)

            just a hunch, but i doubt it.

            i don’t think it would be tied to the arbitration process at all.

          • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

            I doubt it. Arb is likely only tied to picks, I’d say.

  • Mike P

    Another side of the story is how the GM’s value extra draft picks. At the moment, it seems they don’t seem to think the risk/reward of pursuing draft picks is worth the money. Given that quite a few of the players not given arbitration could end up swapping teams, collectively this could end up keeping contracts lower and not affect the draft too much.

  • Baseballnation

    Adam Dunn fits to big needs with Giambi, and Abreu leaving….Big time power, big time walks. The fact he won’t cost picks and he can be had for 16 million per makes him more attractive. Sure the ny media will rip when he’s hitting .240 but that is because most of them don’t get that batting average is largely overrated.

  • Bo

    The Yankees are acting small market here. Why hasn’t a deal with pettitte been done yet? This shouldn’t even be an issue. A veteran lefty on a one yr deal who is a proven NY, big game pitcher.

    Especially with only 2 starters in the rotation at the moment.

    • steve (different one)

      The Yankees are acting small market here.

      Abraham? is that you?

    • Joseph P.

      “Why hasn’t a deal with pettitte been done yet?”

      I believe the Yanks are offering far less than the $12 million everyone is assuming.

      • Mike P

        Or Pettite is holding out for two years. See other FA pitchers being signed? Unless the whole of MLB is “small market”, you’re not talking sense. If the Yankees play this right, they could really come out of this with some good value signings. Surprised they’re in no rush? I’m not.

        • Mike P

          Sorry, Bo’s not talking sense. Joseph P. is of course as always!

          • Joseph P.

            I wouldn’t go that far.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      The Yankees are acting small market here. Why hasn’t a deal with pettitte been done yet? This shouldn’t even be an issue. A veteran lefty on a one yr deal who is a proven NY, big game pitcher.


      • RustyJohn


  • steve (different one)

    so Abreu is by FAR the least attractive free agent out of Dunn, Burrell and Abreu, yet none were offered arbitration.

    is it possible that Cashman is not an “idiot” as stated in the first thread?

    think about that. Abreu has to wait for those 2 guys to sign before he even gets a sniff, at which point he has to get an offer that is better than 1 year at $16-18M, which he would get in arbitration.

    for the last decade, except for a small blip in 2003, salaries have consistently gone up. if salaries are going to DECREASE for the first time, then all of the old rules with regard to arbitration do not apply any more.

    this is a very complicated issue, yet people want to treat it as if it were black and white, as if the people on a message board somehow have any more insight into the arbitration process than the front office of the most valuable sports franchise on earth.

    save that shit for LoHud.

    the Abreu decision was debatable, and maybe the yankees are playing it a little too safe, but that doesn’t make them idiots.

    • Joseph P.

      Ibanez will be signed before Abreu, too, though he was offered arbitration.

      • steve (different one)


        Ibanez will be signed first b/c he is cheaper and teams want bargains.

        Abreu is in line before 4 other corner OFer if you count Manny.

        i wouldn’t call it a “smart” decision that Cashman made, but it is starting to look more and more likely that it was simply a “necessary” decision.

        i don’t know if the yankees really had much of a choice.

      • RustyJohn

        He’ll likely decline- he still thinks he can play left field and wants the hell out of Seattle. However, if I were Seattle I’d hop at the chance of getting either Giambi, Dunn or Abreu- exactly what they need- left-handed power bats that get on base.

  • Yank Crank 20

    All of you who so adamantly wanted Tex and CC because “the Yankees have the financial advantage and should spend wildly” must be very sad right now.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

      Not at all, because the Yankees, Phillies, and Diamondbacks not offering arbitration to their mid-level corner outfielders isn’t really related to the Yankees ability to overpay for CC and Tex, who are top shelf talents.

      We’re talking about two different markets and two different player stratospheres. We had no interest in retaining Abreu, the Phillies had no interest in retaining Burrell, the Diamondbacks had no interest in retaining Dunn (at his prices). Arbitration wasn’t offered out of a fear of a market contraction leading to a greater likelihood of players accepting arb, something none of those teams wanted.

      I fail to see what that has to do with the Yankees paying top dollar for top players. We still have the financial advantage. We didn’t decline arb on Abreu because we can’t afford him, we did because we don’t want him but don’t think that anybody else could afford to offer him a contract he’d take (which was our true desired outcome).

      If anything, this bodes WELL for our chances to sign both CC and Tex, since it appears that teams are reluctant to overpay for players in a tightening market, thus decreasing the chance that somebody else meets or exceeds our bids on the two of them.

      • Yank Crank 20


  • Steve S

    I just don’t buy the financial argument coming from Brian Cashman. I understand that if Abreu accepted arbitration would be getting overpaid, HOWEVER, he would be getting overpaid for one year and the contract is not even guaranteed, so for Bobby to accept he could be running a huge risk to make $19M when he could easily surpass that in the aggregate on a two or three year contract from another team.

    Now as for Cash, its hard to believe the Yankees have great concerns over paying a player for one year. I understand the current economic situation BUT the commitment would be zero for the Yankees assuming they simply released him in spring training. And the question of cost wouldnt be at issue as he said, since Abreu would have to accept within a week. If he did accept then you would evaluate. Plus the actual economic concerns are odd especially when they seem willing to make offers on other players that completely set the market. If they had been consistent with their financial approach I would understand but this seems odd. You dont go around willing to spend $200M + on new players but then draw the line on one year non guaranteed contracts on players that you know can perform to a certain level.

    The only thing that does make sense is that they want roster flexibility because they intend on adding a lot to this roster either through trade or free agency. Now this leaves two potential scenarios:

    1) The Yankees are comfortable with Brett Gardner/Melky/Damon in center and will spend on CC and two more pitchers (whether that includes Pettitte or not).


    2) Bobby Abreu causes some kind of congestion if he accepts arb. Right now, he arguably wouldn’t because you could simply have Damon in Center, Nady in left and Abreu in right, with Swisher at first. That would leave absolutely no room for pursuing Tex.

    Now sans Abreu, they can still approach Tex and slot Swisher into any of the outfield spots or they take choice one above. Its flexibility. Now this could be bad news or good news. One they could be thinking they can do both CC and Tex or they are realizing that CC may not come here so they better keep the door open for signing Tex because he is the next best fit for them. I dont think this has anything to do with money or cost control, rather allowing Cash to approach the free agent market with some flexibility.

    • Joseph P.

      I think you’ve got it on the roster flexibility. If both Abreu and Pettitte accepted, that’s two guys you have to DFA immediately, and then more guys to DFA if you sign a free agent. Plus, then you have to account for both players’ salaries, which will only further hamper the team’s plans.

      It might be wishful thinking, but this could just be a prelude to a big winter.

    • Mike P

      CC/Burnett (or Sheets)/Texeira would be the dream three Type A signings. Second best: CC/Burnett (or Sheets)/Dunn (or Manny if you’re so inclined). Third choice: CC/Burnett (or Sheets)/Burrell

      Do you not get it? None of those propositions include any room for Abreu. Failing to offer Abreu arbitration isn’t necessarily incompatible with a MONSTER FA haul. When will people realise this? The Yanks were clearly afraid he’d accept. The Yanks clearly think there will be much more value elsewhere. Debate those positions if you will, but saying the Yanks have become reluctant to spend money based on those moves is just not justified. I mean, their offer to Sabathia is huge. They’re CLEARLY still going to spend a ton of money, and aren’t worried about the extra few million. That’s why they got Swisher. Hold your fire on the “small market approach” bullshit. The Yanks have even more of an advantage this year. They know it and they’re using it. Stop your scare mongering.

      • Steve S

        I think the criticism on Abreu is that Cashman is making an economic argument and it doesnt make sense. It also seems like he is making a bad bet. Cash isnt willing to take the bet that Abreu walks. I think that is a bad bet, you might as well take the draft picks because I cant seem him accepting. I am skeptical that Abreu or his representation would believe he couldnt get two year deal worth between $24-$26M, and thats conservative. Abreu could arguably get between $16-$20M next year in arbitration but the Yankees could still release him come March, which would be the worse case scenario for Bobby. I cant imagine any agent recommending that. But with all that said Cashman is privy to a lot more information so maybe he knows something about Bobby accepting.

        And as for the spending. I don’t think its going to be CC and Tex, I think Cashman wants the ability to pursue both CC and Tex which is completely different. I do think the Yankees will spend but everything you read seems to indicate they wouldn’t be willing to commit more than $300M to two players.

        • steve (different one)

          I think the criticism on Abreu is that Cashman is making an economic argument and it doesnt make sense.

          and the counter argument is that it makes perfect sense.

          it may be a little too “conservative” or risk averse, but it completely makes sense.

          using your own numbers, if you were Abreu and were offered 2 years $24-26M, and could get $16-20M in arbitration, what would you do??

          i would accept arbitration.

          keep in mind that i explained below that you can’t just cut the player in Spring Training. there are several consequences: financially, in terms of roster management, and also in terms of risking a grievance from the player’s union.

          • Steve S

            Ill admit when Im wrong on cutting but given the time I would be curious to see the actual details because that reference tommie is making cites to the uniform players contract. Plus I know that the CBA prevents duplication in contracts, so whatever they have paid him would be reduced by whatever contract he signed with a new team. I understand that its not zero.

            And Im going to have to disagree here Steve. I cant imagine he would accept arb in that situation (if he were offered $24-$26M money rather than the $20M for this year). I would always accept the greater amount especially at Bobby’s age and especially considering the fact that if he is worried about the down economy, its not going to get much better next year. If he thinks his value is reduced now, what will it be at the same time next year? He isnt 28 coming off a bad year, he is 35 coming off his normal type of year. His value wont increase after this year. And the $24-$26M was a conservative estimate.

            • steve (different one)

              maybe you are right that he would accept the 2 year deal. i guess i don’t know how he would behave.

              but if i were him i would take the 1 year deal and gamble that i could get another contract the next year that more than makes up the difference.

              but you are right, i can’t say that for sure.

    • steve (different one)

      I understand the current economic situation BUT the commitment would be zero for the Yankees assuming they simply released him in spring training.

      guys, you can’t just release a player in Spring Training.

      go look it up in the CBA.

      i know this meme has been floating around the internet, but there has to be just cause for releasing the player. the Union would object if the Yankees released Abreu.

      also, if Abreu got $19M in arbitration, the Yankees, even if they DID release him, would owe him about $3.5M.

      that’s pretty far from the “zero” commitment you speak of. the Yankees are probably better off just using that $3.5M in the bottom of the draft to get signability guys, which would help offset the lost picks at the top of the draft.

      again, this is not a black and white decision.

      so for Bobby to accept he could be running a huge risk to make $19M when he could easily surpass that in the aggregate on a two or three year contract from another team.

      you are missing the whole point. the Yankees believe that Abreu is NOT going to “easily” surpass that amount on the open market. THAT is what this move is all about. the Yankees, Diamondbacks, and Phillies all believe that the market for corner OFers is not going to be a lucrative one.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Snarky Irrelevant Non Sequitur Jones

        Cutting Bobby during the spring would not be verbatim banned by the CBA, but yes, it’s highly unlikely:

        A Player who is tendered a Uniform Player’s Contract which is subsequently terminated by a Club during the period between the end of the championship season and the beginning of the next succeeding spring training under paragraph 7(b)(2) of the Uniform Player’s Contract for failure to exhibit sufficient skill or competitive ability shall be entitled to receive termination pay from the Club in an amount equal to thirty (30) days’ payment at the rate stipulated in paragraph 2 of (1) his Contract for the next succeeding championship season, or (2) if he has no contract for the next succeeding championship season, in an amount equal to thirty (30) days’ payment at the rate stipulated in paragraph 2 of the Contract tendered to him by his Club for the next succeeding championship season.

        A Player whose Contract is terminated by a Club under paragraph 7(b)(2) of the Uniform Player’s Contract for failure to exhibit sufficient skill or competitive ability shall be entitled to receive termination pay from the Club in an amount equal to thirty (30) days’ payment at the rate stipulated in paragraph 2 of his Contract, if the termination occurs during spring training but on or before the 16th day prior to the start of the championship season. If the termination occurs during spring training, but subsequent to the 16th day prior to the start of the championship season, the Player’s termination pay shall be in an amount equal to forty-five (45) days’ payment at the rate stipulated in paragraph 2 of his Contract.


        We’d cut him, the Union would file a grievance saying that he’s in perfect shape and tearing up the Grapefruit League to the tune of .290/.375/.510 and that there’s nothing wrong with his “skill” or “ability”, and we’d lose the grievance, the contract would be reinstated, and we’d be on the hook for the fool 18M.

        • steve (different one)

          thank you for pulling that up.

          it’s a key detail that people keep missing.

          • Steve S

            By the way fellas, I just skimmed it, there are more grounds to terminate the contract, they just arent spelled out. The CBA makes a reference to the UPC which has several different termination clauses. The above provisions have references to one section of the UPC, from just skimming the CBA i can see that section 7 of the UPC has several termination provisions. And that termination article is prefaced by a “player who is tendered a uniform players contract…” The Arb article doesnt reference the tendering of contract just the determination of salary. The UPC which I cant find a copy of may have a provision that allows termination if the contract was offered as a result of arbitration.

            I dont know where the rumor got started but i saw it here

            And while Im not the biggest Pete Abe fan, I would hope he would do a little background before writing that.

            • Steve S

              I see the UPC, its unclear to me. It is termination for cause as the only grounds. I dont know where the grounds are, except for the fact that the termination provisions are conditioned on the “offering of a UPC”, and its arguable that the offer of salary arbitration wouldnt consitute an offer of a contract. Its a poor argument but I cant understand where else Pete Abe and Cash are getting that information from (without reading the entire CBA). And now all I have to figure it out is how I can bill for all this.

      • Steve S

        I get that is what the Yankees think, that he wont easily surpass that, I just dont agree and I cant understand that.

        And Steve you are missing the point. I dont buy the argument that the Yankees would concern themselves with arguably, at the most, $6M more than what a player’s market value is, especially when they currently have major question marks in the outfield. To me Abreu on a one year deal is a no brainer at this point, especially when you have Gardner is center and Xavier Nady in right and your safest bet for production is an aging Johnny Damon.
        Thats why I dont buy Cash’s cost control argument.

        NOW, Im not saying Cash made a bad move, I just think his public justification was BS, he may have been concerned with Bobby accepting. And again I acknowledge he may have information that I dont have (which im skeptical of also because if he did have the information thats arguably collusion). If Bobby accepted it would limit his ability to pursue certain players. My criticism is that I think they should have rolled the dice to get the picks because the much more likely scenario is that Bobby gets $30M from the Mets or Cubs.

        • steve (different one)

          My criticism is that I think they should have rolled the dice to get the picks because the much more likely scenario is that Bobby gets $30M from the Mets or Cubs.

          very possible. you are right, we don’t know.

          but i don’t think Cashman’s explanation was BS: the Yankee simply do not want Abreu back for $16M, even if it is a one year deal.

          Olney had a piece today citing executives who think Abreu is worth about $8M on the open market.

          take that for what it is worth, but that is what people around the game are saying.

          • Steve S

            I guess well only be able to see over time. If he gets $8M per year Ill be stunned and so will the players association.

          • Steve S

            I’m just having a hard time buying that Cash is so opposed to Abreu at that $value

            To me that amount of money shouldnt scare them considering he is a known commodity and its not a long term commitment and the current status of the roster. I think at the start of the offseason most people would have said Bobby is okay on a one year deal but not at two to four years.

            And to clarify I think Cash is making the absolute right move if he really thought that Bobby would accept. Im just not buying that they wanted cost control, I think he wanted to make sure he had room on the roster for Manny or Tex if CC doesnt come.

  • A.D.

    Could be economic downturn, and I know the D’Backs did cite the economy the other day, however it could be a combo in that aging outfielders going into their middle 30s can easily be pretty bad contracts, especially with respect to Dunn, Burrell, and Abreu who all have some holes in their game, and none of which can play the outfield very well.

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