Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Please don't make this man angry

Papelbon on contract talks:
“I don’t think the Red Sox really necessarily are seeing eye to eye with me on that subject right now. Hopefully we can get somewhere. We’re chugging away at this thing and we want to get it done, believe me and we can move on."

Of course I kid when I say don't make him angry. It's simple, Papelbon has zero leverage. The Red Sox will never see eye to eye with Papelbon because they don't need to see eye to eye with him. That's baseball. "A player with three or more years of service, but less than six years, may file for salary arbitration." A player with less than three is a ridiculously well-paid indentured servant. If Papelbon wishes to view a contract in the area of $600,000 (a figure I've seen thrown around) as "disrespectful" we simply point him towards Hanley Ramirez's $440,000 2008 salary and go on our way.

Papelbon remarks that, "I feel a certain obligation not only to myself and my family to make the money that I deserve but for the game of baseball. Mariano Rivera has been doing it for the past 10 years and with me coming up behind him I feel a certain obligation to do the same." In his first four years in the league Rivera earned $109,000, $131,125, $550,000, and $750,000. One doubts $600,000 in year three for Papelbon would set Rivera's pioneering efforts back any.

As a fan I say, "Just give Papelbon his money. He earned it!" As a noted baseball scholar I say, "Okay, Papelbon, you won't win this battle, let's just pack it in before we say something we come to regret."

Sean McAdam answers "Why not just give Papelbon the money?" thusly:

I think it sets a precedent of sorts for them, where every second- and third-year player who is not yet eligible for salary arbitration could come in and point to Papelbon's more than doubling his salary from $425,500 to 900,000 from his second to third year, and that happens a few times, and it starts adding up to possibly some money. The fact of the matter is that major-league players for the first three years of their big-league careers, the teams have the hammer. They have the power, because players have no leverage or arbitration rights, and after the third year the pendulum swings over dramatically in the players' favor. ... Prior to [years] four, five and six they have the rights to go to arbitration, which owners and executives claim artificially escalates salaraies at a rate higher than should be, and then after six years there's the prospect of free agency. The Red Sox are actually fairly generous with their 0-3 players.
Bryan: All under $500,000 team:

C: Russell Martin
1B: Prince Fielder (a little bit over, but still)
2B: BJ Upton
SS: Han-Ram
3B: Ryan Zimmerman
OF: Ryan Braun
OF: Hunter Pence
OF: Nick Markakis/Ellsbury
RHP: Fausto Carmona
LHP: Cole Hamels
CL: Paps

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