Arbitration filing begins Monday

Yanks attempt media negotiations with Pettitte
TCBB's Top 50 Players

For the most part, minus a potential Andy Pettitte signing, the Yankees are done with their major dealings this winter. From here on out, it’s about tweaking what they’ve got in order to optimize their roster heading into Spring Training and eventually Opening Day. This will probably be our focus for the rest of the winter, which is just fine by me. Baseball is a nuanced game, and we’re getting into those nuances right now. First up, the arbitration process.

We’ve seen the deadline for offering your own free agents arbitration pass, so it’s time for the next group to file: three- to five-year players. You can add to this group Super Two players. Barry Bloom, in an article about arbitration cases, explains:

Currently, clubs control the contracts of almost all players with zero to three years of Major League experience, save for a small group of “Super Two” players who are eligible for arbitration early if they played in the Majors at least 86 days in the previous season and were among the top 17 percent in cumulative playing time in that group with at least two to three years of experience.

Melky Cabrera qualifies as a Super Two and is arbitration eligible this year. He joins Brian Bruney and Xavier Nady as the only Yankees who will face this process. The Yankees other eligible player, Chien-Ming Wang, agreed to a $5 million 2009 salary last week to avoid arbitration.

Most people are familiar with what happens from here on out. Eligible players file to protect themselves. Then they negotiate with their teams until February, when the hearings begin. Prior to the hearing the two sides exchange figures of what they deem a fair salary. If no agreement is reached prior to the scheduled hearing, both parties appear before a three-member panel and argue the case. The panel then determines which of the two figures better reflects the player’s value.

Hearings, though, are quite the rarity these days. Bloom notes that 110 players filed for arbitration last year. Only eight of them went to the hearing. Fewer than half, 48, even exchanged figures with their respective club. This suggests that both sides benefit from striking a deal beforehand. Maury Brown of Biz of Baseball explains:

“To place the arbitration process in perspective, there is a reason that so few clubs and players go all the way to hearing,” said Brown, who noted that the owners have beaten the players in arbitration for 12 consecutive years. “The stakes are too high. That and the clubs really lose even when they win. Whether a deal is struck before hearing, or if a club wins at hearing, the player nearly always gets a hefty raise.”

As for the Yankees specifically, the only case that might to to a hearing is Nady, who is represented by Scott Boras. Bruney and Melky figure to settle beforehand, earning raises over their 2008 salaries, but nothing ridiculous. Both faced troubles during the year — Bruney a foot injury and Melky a demotion to AAA — so they don’t have much leverage. Nady on the other hand made just $3.35 million last year, and by the numbers he far outplayed his salary. When Boras is involved in a case like this, you can’t really assume anything (but that won’t stop us from trying).

My guesses as to what each player will earn, hearing or not:

Melky: $750,000
Bruney: $1.2 million
Nady: $6 million

Things will be much more interesting for other teams. Ryan Howard won a $10 million salary in arbitration last year and went on to lead the league in homers and RBI, and his shiny ring won’t hurt him in the process. Bloom predicts a 50 percent raise, meaning $15 million for the second-year arbitration eligible player. Howard’s hearing last year could play into the Brewers situation with Prince Fielder, who is arbitration eligible for the first time. He won’t get $10 million, but if he plays his cards right he could get $7 or $8, which is still a high figure for a first-year arbitration player.

Little things like this help get us through the cold months prior to Spring Training. So please: comment, dissect, analyze, etc.

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Yanks attempt media negotiations with Pettitte
TCBB's Top 50 Players
  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if Melky gets over a million.

    • http://26ncounting.blogspot.com VO

      really? what are the plans for melky anyway with austin jackson scheduled to come up next year?

    • Moshe Mandel

      Melky’s performance got worse and he lost his job. Shouldn’t that count against him?

    • Steve O.

      Me either, Melky’s past performance definetely would warrant a million plus regardless of his poor 2008.

      • Mike Pop

        Melky will get cut if he keeps getting raises. We will just non tender his ass if he doesnt produce.

        • Steve O.

          Basically, he’ll be our very own outfield version of Wilson Betemit. Name three utility outfielders better than him. He’s got a couple horrible seasons away and a few salary raises before the Yanks cut him. So he’ll get his chances.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

            I agree. He’s a quality fourth outfielder, but he can’t start for a contending team right now.

  • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

    Is anyone aware of the record for the highest salary given to an arbitration eligible player (whether by the three-member panel or the player’s team)?

    • Should be working

      Wasnt it Howards 10 mil?

    • Steve O.
      • Steve O.

        Year Player/club Salary
        2008 Howard, Phi $10,000,000
        2008 Rodriguez, LAA $10,000,000
        2006 Soriano, Was $10,000,000
        2001 A. Jones, Atl $8,200,000
        2007 Cabrera, Fla. $7,400,000
        2000 Rivera, NYY $7,250,000
        2003 Garcia, Sea $6,875,000
        2003 Beltran, KC $6,000,000
        2003 Vazquez, Mon $6,000,000

        So there it is. A three way tie.

    • 27 this year

      Howard’s 10 mil was the record for first year arb players. I don’t know the record but people have gotten more like I think in his third year, Soriano got 12 mil.

      • Mike Pop

        Na Soriano wanted 12 but I think he only got like 10

  • Reggie C.

    Is Melky going to make the DR’s WBC team?

    • Steve O.

      He might, but as a utility outfielder. That team is loaded: A-Rod, Pujols, Soriano, Cano, David Ortiz, Manny, Vlad -That lineup would scare the gratest pitchers in the game.

      • Mike Pop

        CC would throw a CG shutout against that lineup then go eat 15 happy meals. But its a good thing hes not pitching in the WBC!

        • Steve O.

          Seriously, that’s 6 great cleanup hitters in one lineup.

  • Mike

    Think we could package Nady, Melky, IPK, and maybe another prospect for Howard? I know we already got Tex, but think of throwing in Howard as the DH….how nasty would that be?

    I just remember that Phil did not want to give him 10 mil last year and will be pissed when they have to give 15 this year…

    Damon L
    Jeter R
    Arod R
    Howard L
    Tex S
    Cano L
    Posada S
    Swish S
    Gardner L

    All I would have to say is wow think of the amount of protection that each player would have then…

    Chances: >2.5%

    • Mike Pop

      Really ?

    • Ryan S.

      Chances: <0.0001%

    • Jake H

      LOL. I can’t wait for the regular season so that the speculation can stop.

    • Joey H

      Well, Thanks for the laugh.

    • http://26ncounting.blogspot.com VO

      thats never going to happen, but thanks for the laugh man

    • Steve O.

      Why stop there when the Yanks can have a whole lineup of cleanup hitters: 1-9
      A-Rod
      Manny Ramirez
      Albert Pujols
      Ryan Braun
      Hanley Ramirez
      Grady Sizemore
      Chase Utley
      Mark Teixeira
      Joe Mauer

      Ryan Howard’s BA is too low to start, but he’d be a heck of a player off the bench. We can have this lineup for assorted crap and “Melky can’t get a hit to save his life Cabrera”.

      • anonymous

        Thats ok… but how nasty would it be if we got a time machine and got some real all stars? And it helps payroll. Mickey Mantle only made like 100 grand!

        • Steve O.

          No, their old teams have to agree to pay the rest of their contracts too, how dumb do you think I am?

    • Joey H

      See this wouldn’t be so ridiculous but he thinks they would take Melky, IPK, two players whose MLB production is at question and a good player in his own right with Nady for one of the biggest Home Run hitters in the game today.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      The Phillies aren’t going to trade their superstar first baseman right after they won the World Series.

      • Joey H

        No but Mike, “how nasty would that be?” They are going to be awfully frustrated to fork over an extra 5 million.

        • Mike Pop

          Damn guys layoff a bit

      • Steve O.

        Mike A. did you create this blog?

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

          I’m one of the three that started it.

          • Steve O.

            Oh, i see, kind of like the Three Amigos, the Three Musketeers, thats all I got. I’m thinking about starting my own blog, any advice?

            • Joey H

              Yeah, have patience and don’t advertise here lol.

              • Steve O.

                Yea, thats right the big three can get pretty nasty. But did you expect RAB to be one of the greatest Yankee blogs on the blogosphere. Don’t fix it by saying the greatest Yankee Blog.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

              The only advice I can really hand out is to stick with it. Most blogs die because the writer loses interest after 6 months. Problem is, almost no one gains a significant following in that short a time. So stick it out.

              • Steve O.

                How long did it take for RAB to gain enough readers? And thankyou. I won’t my heart belongs in sports, I just need a quality name for my blog.

    • jsbrendog

      facepalm. ZERO chance.

      nobody wants melky

    • anonymous

      If trade happened Cashman would be burned as a witch the next day.

    • Should be working

      Lol you guys murdered him. Word of advice, if your post includes a trade of anyone for Melky + IPK you’re better off not posting it and realizing that it wont happen.

      • Should be working

        I guess that would be words :d

      • Ryan S.

        This guy really did get destroyed … hilarious.

        • Joey H

          Yeah I don’t expect him back ever again.

          • Ryan S.

            Everyone who posts on a forum eventually says something kinda dumb and gets pwnd for it. Nobody is gonna remember who posted this in a couple weeks – we all take our licks on the internet from time to time. Hopefully this guy learns a little more about baseball and realigns his perception accordingly, so that next time he’s here, we don’t web-rape him.

            • jsbrendog

              so should i feel dirty for being a part of a web-rape?

              • Mike

                It wasn’t rape since I enjoyed it…

                • Mike Pop

                  Lol

    • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

      Sorry, but I don’t want a 29-year-old DH who’s OBP not only has decreased by .032 points and .053 points in the 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 seasons, respectively, but also the fact that his OBP in 2008 (.339) was below that of the average N.L. hitter (.343). He can fuck off.

      • Joey H

        Oh please, Jamal you went way to far out side of the box! Just look at the package they are getting for the former MVP.

        • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

          His OPS has decreased over 200 points from the 2006 season to the 2008 season. I’m not going outside the box, Ryan Howard’s numbers are seriously declining and it’s troubling. His SLG% in 2006 was .659; in 2008 it was .543. His OBP decreased from .425 in 2006 to .339 in 2008. How can you really advocate trading for this guy when his body – already regulated to DH ability at this moment – will age poorly, thus resulting in further declining numbers as he ages. If he’s not hitting Home Runs, he’s pretty much useless.

          With the better pitching he will face in the AL East (which is the real strength of the division, not the offenses) Howard will falter even moreso. He is not worth the the six cost-controlled years of Ian Kennedy or whatever else we would have to realistically give up in conjunction to acquire him. Ryan Howard is vastly, vastly overrated.

          • Ryan S.

            Ryan Howard may be SLIGHTLY overrated, but if the premise of that absurdly unbalanced trade where we’re giving up Melky/IPK/Nady/random prospect for the guy, its an absurd steal and you could do so many things with it … namely flip him right back to another team in some kind of epic trade for someone like Hanley Ramirez or Curtis Granderson (we’d be packaging some other prospects too to get one of those guys)

            I’m just saying, that’s what I would do if Ryan Howard fell into my lap for some spare parts. This is a fun fantasy scenario, actually. Maybe it wasn’t such a bad post after all!

            • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

              Sorry, dude, but no GM will look at Ryan Howard as the centerpiece in a package for Hanley Ramirez, Curtis Granderson or any up-the-middle, 25-or-under player that’s signed to an affordable, team-friendly contract – as the two named players are.

      • Should be working

        He’d probably hit like 90 HRs in Yankee Stadium tho.

        • Joey H

          Yeah and strike out 250 times.

        • Mike Pop

          Not worth it because of the OBP……….

        • Should be working

          Not saying I’d want him if it were going to cost somethin, jus sayin the guy can mash in our park if he actually makes contact.

          • Mike Pop

            I was joking, Id take him in a minute for that package.

      • Steve O.

        Yea, you’re right, but look at his RBI and HR. Totally worth it.

  • Grover

    Thanks for the post Joseph P but I disagree with your premise. I think the Yanks are not nearly done. The perfect storm of a new stadium and the subsequent increase in revenues, the savings from revenue sharing and the financial crisis and its effect on other teams’ spending this offseason has led to a once in a new stadium lifetime opportunity. Though CC was seen as a must at any cost, Burnett and Texeira were last minute swoops and I see Manny’s and Hudson’s and Kapler’s negotiations having the same Yankee endings. I believe Cashman is in search of deals to shed salary with Matsui and Damon at the top of the list. The price at the trade deadline and even more so the waiver wire will be ridiculously cheap. It will remind some of our older fans of the fifties when they would simply buy an aging vet for the world series run. I do not believe for a single second that 2009 payroll will be less than 2008; possibly by a wide margin. I can envision a penalty next January of $50M and MLB loving the fact that several teams stayed solvent through these difficult times as a result.

    Now I’ll go off the reservation completely. Though I’m certain they won’t go that far, I could see an argument for bringing in Bonds and Sosa to split duties at DH or pinch hitting if Posada’s shoulder does not hold up enough for him to catch. They would draw fans and not be a drain financially or on the field. They would also draw attention away from Manny, Tex and the rest delivering as advertised. Call it a circus but it’s about making money as well as winning titles. Bash away but I see Cano in left, Gardner/Melky in center and Manny in right. Hudson at second helps Jeter, Arod and Texeira and he can bat lead off. They will resign Pettite and give the kids a chance to hold down the fifth spot but come July they will buy replacements where required.

    • Should be working

      Lol.

    • Should be working

      You do all that and you dont even upgrade CF?

    • Steve O.

      And the most ridiculous post of 09 goes to (Drum Roll) Grover. Mike, a close second. Tune in next year for the ’10 awards show, til then RAB I’m Steve O. and have a nice year.

      • Should be working

        09 just started and we have a post of the year. I love it.

    • Ryan S.

      I need to stop reading this thread. I’m getting more stupid with every post I see. The thought of Bonds and Sosa splitting DH duty makes me die a little bit on the inside.

      • Should be working

        This is a great way to start off the new year. Im glad my boss’ are gone so they dont wonder what all my laughter is about. Epic thread is epic.

        • Ryan S.

          Yeah, I do almost smell a hint of /b/ in this thread.

    • jsbrendog

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      needed to be done. starting 09 off with a bang. boom, make it explode. the lohud infiltration begins

      • Mike Pop

        Grover was not serious, he just could not be. He wanted to see responses to it. He was looking for a laugh himself, there is no way this guy thinks we sign Manny, Hudson, and Kapler also while bringing in Sosa and Bonds. He was not serious.

    • Dirt

      I chuckled at this.

      I also would enjoy if commenters got an email or something when people replied to their posts, that way they would know the response they got, instead of just writing something like that, then wandering away into cyberspace.

    • Joey H

      Wait was this serious? I’m not trying to be rude or funny, I really can’ tell.

      • Mike Pop

        I really dont think he was being serious. He just wanted to see a reaction. Ive never seen a Grover before lol

    • Old Ranger

      Reactionary, creative, disaster are the first thoughts that come to mind but, I’ll settle for disappointed.
      Deals, just to make deals is, tenuous, at best. Switching 1/3 of the team around is exacerbating a delicate line-up and team…adding Manny is really bad news. Hudson is not a better 2nd baseman then Cano and if push comes to shove…Brett or Jeter can lead off. The line-up of;
      Johnny, Jeter, A-Rod, Tex, Matsui, Posada, Swisher, Cano, Brett is fine.
      If one wants to get very creative try this; Brett, Jeter, Tex, A-Rod, Matsui, Posada, Swisher, Nady, Cano.

  • Joey H

    Mike and Joe, the sophisticated RAB is looking a little bit like LoHud today!!

    • Steve O.

      It has been a little off today, but LoHud isn’t a bad blog by any means, the comments are just a little uhhh… a little uhhh… special.

    • whozat

      It’s early April Fools Day.

  • Mike

    Um so I take it no to Ryan Howard…or Sosa or Bonds…

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      An argument for Bonds could’ve been made before last season (or at the time they picked up Sexson. Ugh.) but now it’s far too late.

  • A.D.

    Brew Crew isn’t going to be happy if Fielder gets a big raise

    • Ryan S.

      I’m sure they’ve already factored in his estimated arb. raise into their budget. They’ll try to get it as low as possible of course, but I think they’re already prepared to pay him whatever it ends up being.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      He’s going to. I think, though, if they still had LaPorta, Fielder would’ve been traded this offseason.

  • Grover

    Sorry to pull your chains and disappear but three of four children melted down over Christmas sugar. I do not post frequently but read everything and was happy to receive an award and so much feedback. RAB is the best read for intelligent fans and I apologize if I offended anyone or brought down the level but it appeared to be falling off with the Ryan Howard chatter.

    • jsbrendog

      thank god

  • Steve

    Howard had a horrendous start last year and an overall down year, but he is not the scrub that Jamal G is making him out to be. He is going to have an excellent year this year and I would love to see those red pinstripes turn blue on his uniform.