It’s roast day for Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers - otherwise known as arbitration. I hope he’s got thick skin, ‘cause it’s gonna get ugly.
Baseball arbitration is sort of like a character witness trial. Each side gets 60 minutes to present their case – the player’s group will argue that he’s worth more than the figure tossed out by the team…the team will argue that their offer is more than fair. Each side will present stats and graphs and comparative analysis to other players in the league. Then each side gets 30 minutes to discredit the other side’s case.
It will get personal, which explains why many teams employ the services of outside firms to do the dirty work. The Brewers have hired a team from New York to smoke Hart. After all, this guy’s going to be playing for you this year.
Statistically, the edge belongs to the owners in these negotiations. But let’s not kid ourselves, the players are the overwhelming champions of the salary arbitration process. The mere possibility of a ruling in favor of the player forces the owner to inflate his initial offer beyond what the player is truly worth.
But the biggest hit comes not in the year of arbitration, but in the negotiations to come. Player X’s pumped up salary establishes a new baseline. And if player X underperforms, that foundation becomes an insanely inflated financial standard of mediocrity…across the league.
Let’s look at Corey Hart’s situation. At $3.25 million in 2009, Hart was wildly overpaid. But here we are, going to arbitration in 2010 because Milwaukee’s offer of $4.15 million falls short of Hart’s desired $4.8 million.
No matter what happens this afternoon, Hart grabs (at least) a $900,000 raise for a .260 season.
Don’t you wish the process allowed teams to call fans as witnesses?
“The Milwaukee Brewers call Bill from Green Bay to the stand.”
“I drove 110 miles to watch Corey Hart go 0-4 with 3 strikeouts and a pair of runners left in scoring position. He fanned on the same pitch every time – low and away. I knew it was comin’. My kid knew it was comin’. The whole stadium knew it was comin’! But he couldn’t lay off it…AGAIN! Down by 1 with runners on 2nd and 3rd and the loser doesn’t even make contact. And that’s just the one time. The way I figure, that bum owes me $945 for a new flat screen since mine is all spidered after the Cardinals game back on the 18th…”
If I were a member of the Brewers’ representation, I don’t think I would say a word. I would simply pop in a 60 minute DVD of lowlight after lowlight after lowlight of his 2009 season. For my rebuttal, I’d grab another 30 minute reel. That’d be it. Just 90 minutes of stuff like this:
P.S. – Corey, you have too much ink, and your entrance music sucks. I think that should be taken into consideration, as well.