The Yanks and righty Chien-Ming Wang agreed to a one year, $5M deal today, avoiding a second straight arbitration hearing. Last year, as you may recall, the two sides went to arbitration over a $600,000 difference in perceived value, and the arbitrator eventually sided with the Yanks, awarding Wang a $4M salary in 2008. Many felt the Yanks were being stingy with their top pitcher, after all what’s another $600 grand on a team with a $200M payroll? Well, it’s not much, but it sets a precedent for the future and triggers a snowball effect.
If Wang won his case and earned a $4.6M salary in ’08, all of a sudden he’s looking at maybe a $5.8-6.2M salary in 2009, rather than the $5M he signed for. The process then repeats after 2009, and again after 2010. They saved themselves just $600,000 in 2008, but perhaps saved themselves millions in future payroll.
There’s also the overall effect. When Joba Chamberlain, or Phil Hughes, or Chad Billingsley, or Tim Lincecum, or any young right hander reaches arbitration, they’ll probably use Wang as a comparable pitcher because arbitrators love simple stats like wins. Wang getting $600,000 less keeps those salaries down somewhat as well. That benefits everyone.
The Yanks have more money than any team in the game, but that doesn’t mean they should spend their dollars senselessly. They’re still a business, after all. (h/t MLBTR)
Here’s your open thread for the night. Talk Wanger, Packers-Bears, whatever you want. Just be nice.
Oh, and make sure you check out Zell’s run-in with Phil Hughes. Color me jealous.