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January 18, 2010

Transaction Action

NL Ketchup

by Christina Kahrl

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ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Agreed to terms with LF-R Conor Jackson on a one-year, $3.1 million contract, avoiding arbitration. [1/14]
Signed 1B-L Adam LaRoche to a one-year, $4.5 million contract, with a $7.5 millon mutual option for 2011 ($1.5 million club buyout); designated OF-R Eric Byrnes for assignment. [1/15]

There are a couple of implicit assertions here, one of which we have to take on faith, and the other that I think the evidence supports. First, signing LaRoche means the Snakes really believe that Conor Jackson's going to be back to something like full strength, and/or that they can contend with Gerardo Parra getting a decent share of playing time in left. I hope that Jackson can come back and fulfill that faith and confidence that he'll remain a top contributor, but as I noted last August, the previous case of a major pro athlete coming down with Valley Fever, the Phoenix Suns' Johnny Moore, isn't really very reassuring on that score.

The second major item is that this means they don't think Brandon Allen's going to be ready. I'm already bit dubious about his upside; if not for an injection of Reno-based slugging, he was having a generally disappointing season after his 2008 breakout, and PECOTA is projecting a .258 EqA for him in 2010, far below what you want from a first baseman. It might seem unjust and position-relative, but to make it and stick at first base, you must mash. Whatever spudly upside Allen might have is going to require more time boiling in the PCL to get him to true mashing-level utility.

So, taking Allen as the major alternative to LaRoche, this is an obvious improvement, even with something as seemingly reliably frustrating and uneven as LaRoche's performance has been. As I noted last week, LaRoche's three-year EqA is .289, a mark that's barely distinguishable from those of Carlos Delgado or Russell Branyan, and better than Johnny Damon (if you wanted to argue for leaving Jackson at first base), and LaRoche is younger than all of them, and without the question marks that afflict the free agencies of those particular guys. At the price, he's almost a bargain, but he's also very much an average performer at the position (last year's average first-base EqA was .293). However, Phoenix had its particular attactions: possible contention plus a lovely hitting environment, exactly the kind of combination a relatively young veteran mid-career would want to help him enjoy his current commitment while achieving his next contract.

Now, put that together with the hope that Jackson can contribute as the near-regular or everyday left fielder, and you wind up with a generally improved lineup. There's still plenty of wishcasting involved with projecting the Snakes to contend: Chris B. Young and Kelly Johnson have to get their careers back on track, Stephen Drew has to finally have that two-steps-forward season without taking one back, Brandon Webb needs to be healthy, and Edwin Jackson needs to have consecutive good seasons for the first time ever. These things could happen, but the Snakes will need most or all of them if they're going to slither with the big dogs in the division.

Which takes us to the sorry lot of Eric Byrnes, now that he's back below the point when he was initially arbitration-eligible and a middling fourth outfield type bouncing from Oakland to Planet Coors to the Orioles to washing up as low-end add-on with the D'backs. While he was never going to live up to the ludicrously over-generous deal that Josh Byrnes gave him in August, 2007 in a fit of irrational exuberance, now that he might be relatively freely available, it isn't inconceivable that the same "terrible" Eric Byrnes who was and will forever be an expensive disaster as an everyday player in Phoenix could be a useful minimum-wage pickup as a fourth outfielder in any one of several other big-league markets. Assuming Byrnes isn't completely done, anyone wondering about whether or not they want to employ Xavier Nady or Reed Johnson as a platoon bit could look at Byrnes as a cheap alternative: Byrnes has a .284/.345/.511 career clip against lefties, while Nady's at .301/.383/.471, and Johnson's at .313/.378/.463. Where Johnson's make-believe fast, Byrnes is a genuinely better baserunner, and no, none of them can really play center all that well, so they're not ideal fourth outfielders, and Nady's going to cost more and be expected to play more, especially on a second-division team. These aren't perfect-world solutions, but how many Gary Roenickes are there, anyway? Not that you want to be making this call, because ideally you've got three good starting outfielders, but when guys like Jason Michaels are on 40-man rosters, there's clearly a market, and I could see Byrnes winding up being useful, and it isn't going to cost a club anything to find out.


ATLANTA BRAVES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Signed 4C-L Eric Hinske to a one-year, $1 million base contract; designated OF-L Brandon Jones for assignment. [1/12]
Agreed to terms with OF-S Melky Cabrera on a one-year, $3.1 million deal, avoiding arbitration. [1/14]

With that, the Braves "complete" their picture at first base and the outfield corners, with Hinske joining Troy Glaus, Cabrera, and Matt Diaz as the established answers for the three positions. That doesn't sound so great, and it isn't, but that's in isolation of their having Jason Heyward on the horizon with a shot at reducing the veterans' three potential positions by one if he becomes the everyday right fielder at some point in the spring or in-season. That scenario would mean that the Braves have quality reserves at other positions beyond first or right or left: Cabrera can back up Nate McLouth in center when he isn't sharing left field with Diaz, for example, while Hinske and Glaus provide the additional benefit of probably being able to fill in for Chipper Jones at third base if they aren't splitting time at first. Add in Omar Infante's availability at second, short, third, and center, and it makes for a flexible roster with 11 position players in regular rotation, 12 if we count Heyward:

Catchers (2): Brian McCann, David Ross
Middle (4): Yunel Escobar, Martin Prado, Nate McLouth, Omar Infante
Corners (5/6): Chipper Jones, Jason Heyward, Troy Glaus, Eric Hinske, Melky Cabrera, Matt Diaz

Possible Orders vs. RHPs?
Cabrera/Prado/Jones/McCann/Glaus/McLouth/Escobar/Diaz
McLouth/Prado/Jones/McCann/Glaus/Escobar/Cabrera/Diaz
McLouth/Prado/Jones/McCann/Glaus/Escobar/Heyward/Cabrera

That doesn't look so terrible, and the utility of having an outfielder batting eighth and the double-switch possibilities involved make for some useful in-game tactical hazards. OK, so flexibility is good, especially with today's shorter benches, but is this really a contending lineup? There's no obvious "bad" player in it, since everybody involved does a reasonable job of getting on base and has some power. Defense might be a concern when Hinske's in an outfield corner, but that's hardly crippling, nor is it likely to happen all that frequently enough to make a major impact. Such a collection probably leaves guys like Brooks Conrad, Joe Thurston, and Mitch Jones, and maybe Gregor Blanco or Diory Hernandez, fighting for that last spot on the bench, two spots if Heyward's judged to be unready.

Is it good enough to contend with? Here again, I might be more of an optimist about Glaus' value than most, because if healthy he can be roughly average as an offensive producer at first base. The fact that Glaus' health is such an unknown contributes to the decision to add a high-end bench bat like Hinske's, but the total outlay is such that it makes you wonder if they wouldn't have been better off working something out with LaRoche. However, when you consider how left-leaning the lineup is (with Cabrera and Jones switch-hitting), adding a right-handed batter like Glaus might be the right fit for them, if seen through the rosiest of lenses.

What were their other alternatives? Keeping in mind that they were addressing their needs in the outfield corners and first base, and given Heyward's impending arrival, there were only so many possibilities in play. Getting in on Matt Holliday or Jason Bay obviously wasn't in the cards, and a multi-year commitment in the outfield might not have made much sense anyway, given that they've got McLouth locked in and Heyward on the way. Should they have chased after first-base options beyond the so very familiar LaRoche, say, Russell Branyan or Carlos Delgado instead of Glaus? Maybe, but however much I enjoy watching Branyan, he's a bit of an acquired taste while also being something less than a sure thing, while Delgado's health seems even less certain still. They might have expanded their infield corner horizons by seeing if Jones would agree to a move to first base, but even then, the Mariners' early strike with Chone Figgins kept the list of truly tasty options at the hot corner short; maybe they could have made a better offer to Adrian Beltre than the Red Sox, and maybe not.

I guess if we skip back to the argument that they were being cheap when they dealt away Javier Vazquez, I guess one way to intepret this winter's activities is that they're practicing self-abuse to make up for the mistakes of their big-ticket commitments to Derek Lowe and Kenshin Kawakami-not exactly "going cheap"-and after making the elective decision to re-up with Tim Hudson on a multi-year deal, again, not exactly an example of penuriousness as much as an example of obvious preference. Considering we're talking about Vazquez, no sure thing himself, I find this proposition less problematic than, say, the decision to deal away Cliff Lee when there's a bit of contention to be done. On the other hand, it's also the fruit of the same decision tree that sprouted the suggestion that Takashi Saito's a key add-on, which could prove to be an expensive mid-market mistake. Perhaps the Braves have been pound- and penny-foolish, but this wasn't a market chock-a-block with great answers at first base or outstanding short-term gambles in an outfield corner. While the criticisms of Atlanta's offseason are legion, and in several instances reasonable, it's also important to keep an eye on the possible, instead of wishing for things that probably weren't.


CINCINNATI REDS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Agreed to terms with RHP Nick Masset on a two-year, $2.58 million contract, avoiding arbitration. [1/17]

COLORADO ROCKIES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Agreed to terms with LHP Jorge De La Rosa on a one-year, $5.6 million contract, with RHP Taylor Buchholz on a one-year, $1.055 million contract, and with 2B-R Clint Barmes on a one-year, $3.4 million contract, avoiding arbitration with all three. [1/14]

MIAMI MARLINS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Signed RHP Josh Johnson to a four-year, $39 million contract extension, avoiding arbitration. [1/14]

Was it the union's noisy a-grieving itself over the subject of how the Marlins avoid arbitration? The grudging acknowledgment of a particular problem by the Seligs? Or the Lorians just making a sensible commitment to a top talent, as they already had with Hanley Ramirez? I'd argue that elements of all three would seem to be in play, because three's a big difference between making multi-year commitments to players like HanRam and Johnson on the one hand, and sensibly avoiding arbitration with cannon fodder like Kevin Gregg or Joe Nelson, or disappointments like Jeremy Hermida or Scott Olsen or Mike Jacobs. If it took some agitprop from the union or a cranky call from the commish, setting aside the advice of those better angels (of Anaheim), that's well and good. If there's a difference between cheap and sensibly cheap, the Marlins were certainly tip-toeing on the line between the two.

All the same, I remain unsold on the suggestion that ditching filler ballplayers like Gregg or Jacobs doesn't make sense. If you don't want to pay above-market rates via arbitration for a Gregg or a Jacobs-and note that, here again, neither seems likely to make as much as "free" agents as he did through arbitration last winter-there shouldn't be some industry-wide compunction forcing you to do so. Paying above-market prices for middle-class talents isn't honorable or fair or noble, and by attaching value judgments about motivation beyond money is sort of silly. As propositions go, these things are either affordable for you or less so; having the freedom to choose not to shouldn't be seen as unprincipled or evil. Keeping Kevin Gregg or Joe Nelson wasn't certain to produce a 90-win ballclub, and while the ignominy of employing Emilio Bonifacio makes the relative virtue of keeping even a doubtful regular like Jacobs seem like the sort of misstep that might have cost the Fish a shot at the NL Wild Card, remember that the club's genuine, inexplicable, indefensible belief that Emilio Bonifacio had value worthy of everyday play seems as much a monumental baseball misjudgment as a reflection of any payroll problem. However much money it takes to buy you out of belief in Bonifacio, there's still the problem of thinking Bonifacio could play.

Teams purportedly trying harder and spending more were achieving less than the Marlins have the last two seasons. Yes, Atlanta, I mean you, for finishing behind the Fish in 2009 and 2008, but we could add the Reds and the D'backs to the doing-less-with-more list. For myself, I'm delighted that they're keeping Johnson, because I guess I enjoy Marlins baseball as an abstract exercise that answers questions not everyone dares ask: How far can you go with a stars-and-scrubs roster? How much mileage can you get out of free talent? That they're doing better than bigger-budgeted competitors should only make the exercise that much more maddening. Excise the odd Bonifacio and whatever other roster lampreys are taking the shine off their scales, and maybe the Marlins make a real mess of things and make it to the postseason. We're already seeing the industry economize with its expenses on baseball's middle-class talents, but with a Fishy October, could it get even worse?


HOUSTON ASTROS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Outrighted OF-R Jason Bourgeois to Round Rock (Triple-A). [1/15]
Signed RHP Shane Loux to a minor-league contract; agreed to terms with INF-R Jeff Keppinger ($1.15 million) and RHP Chris Sampson ($815,000), avoiding arbitration. [1/16]


LOS ANGELES DODGERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Agreed to terms with RHP Chad Billingsley on a one-year, $3.85 million contract, avoiding arbitration. [1/14]
Agreed to terms with CF-R Matt Kemp on a two-year, $10.95 million contract, avoiding arbitration. [1/14]


MILWAUKEE BREWERS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Signed OF-R Norris Hopper to a minor-league deal. [1/14]

NEW YORK METS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Agreed to terms with RHP John Maine on a one-year, $3.3 million contract, avoiding arbitration. [1/16]

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Signed OF-L Ryan Church to a one-year, $1.5 million (base) contract. [1/13]
Signed RHP D.J. Carrasco to a minor-league contract. [1/16]

As mid-market pickups, I like both add-ons perfectly well, especially since both should be upgrades on what the Pirates already have. Sure, it's a low-expectations exercise; still modest improvement is improvement.

However overhyped Church's upside may still be in some quarters, his past performance suggests .270-something adequacy in terms of EqA as a starter in either outfield corner. With left field stocked with Lastings Milledge, that should put his prospects in right; there, he'll essentially be fighting first baseman Jeff Clement for a lineup slot, with Garrett Jones playing the position of whichever one of the two loses, and with both standing to gain if Jones turns into a pumpkin. This should also mean that Brandon Moss and Steve Pearce are on the verge of being crowded out of the picture, but in the Pirates' mushrooming morass of fungibles, I'd suggest Neal Huntington's now well into a new market inefficiency: entirely disposable ballplayers. We're a society that values unmessy ends and easy disposability, and increasingly recycling as well, so perhaps this makes Huntington a model citizen. Certainly, I wouldn't be the first person to suggest that the Nuttings are interested in more green when it comes to their ballclub.

As for the other instance of the useful-yet-disposable talents added, Carrasco's coming over from a good stretch with the White Sox in low-leverage middle-inning mop-up work, an applicable skill for a Pirates staff sure to endure its share of quick hooks and lost causes. Carrasco's proven to be a durable utility pitcher who, on the basis of last year's performance out of the White Sox pen (4.25 FRA) might be a cut above already Pirated alternatives like Chris Jakubauskas (4.90 relief-only FRA) or Jeff Karstens (6.42). However, like Jakubauskas, he's had problems handling left-handed batters, which suggests a certain redundancy; Jakubauskas is the one of the three on the 40-man, so he could be pitching for his job and his roster spot, although the Pirates have enough disposables on their 40-man that that isn't an automatic consideration.


SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart

Designated RHP Merkin Valdez for assignment. [1/14]
Agreed to terms with RHP Brandon Medders on a one-year, $820,000 contract, avoiding arbitration. [1/16]


Christina Kahrl is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Christina's other articles. You can contact Christina by clicking here

29 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

rbrianc

Worse train wreck contract EVERYONE saw coming: Gary Matthews Jr. or Eric Byrnes?

Jan 18, 2010 16:15 PM
rating: 2
 
David Coonce

Matthews' was two years longer, so I think his wins. Next year's answer: Brandon Lyon.

Jan 18, 2010 16:36 PM
rating: 3
 
Pluthero

How exactly do you compare a 3/15 contract with a 5/50 and a 3/30?

Jan 19, 2010 09:23 AM
rating: 1
 
morisato

Matthews. There was no way in hell he could have matched his payday year.

Jan 18, 2010 17:05 PM
rating: 1
 
Robotey

Matthews. And Cubbies giving $15 million to Marlon Byrd will be a repeat of the mistake on a lesser level.

Jan 18, 2010 17:15 PM
rating: 1
 
David Coonce

Do you realize you can spell "Brandon Lyon" out of "Marlon Byrd"? (you have to use some of the letters more than once, but still.....)

Jan 18, 2010 17:33 PM
rating: 4
 
Sacramento

No "M" in Brandon Lyon

Jan 18, 2010 19:04 PM
rating: 2
 
agentsteel53

not much W either.

Jan 19, 2010 06:23 AM
rating: 8
 
amazin_mess

The Cubs contract to Byrd was nuts. They kicked Bradley, a superior player, to the curb and signed a player who was a product of his home park.

Jan 18, 2010 21:22 PM
rating: 0
 
Tuck
(667)

The cases of Gregg and Jacobs make FLA seem ahead of the curve on arb guys, but isn't it laudable only if they actually spend the money they save? Wins are cheaper than they have been in years, and these guys sit on their hands. I can't commend them for making purely financial decisions that just happen to be good baseball moves.

And don't the Willingham move and today's Uggla deal make their arbitration resume seem less impressive? If they reverse that move they have Coghlan at 2b, Willingham "playing" LF for $4 mil and some legit (non-Bonifacio) prospects under their control.

Jan 18, 2010 22:16 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

We can argue over the where/when that they've invested it, but I'd argue that they have: in HanRam, in Josh Johnson, perhaps also in the Nolasco Kid, etc.

Willingham's the lone real misstep, IMO. Debating Uggla's extension seems more like a calculation over whether or not you want him for his age-32 season and beyond, since they control him through 31. Of course, if they wanted to really get value in trade for him, they might sign him to a back-loaded deal they subsequently won't have to afford, any more than other back-loaded deals have been by the A's (Nick Swisher) or Tigers (Granderson), for example.

Jan 19, 2010 08:48 AM
 
Austin (Raleigh)

You also have to ask where this advanced understanding of who's worth keeping was when they let Miguel Cabrera go.

Jan 19, 2010 10:27 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

They had Cabrera for two more years of arbitration; they skipped the expense and got away from Dontrelle Willis for one of the best center field prospects in baseball in Cameron Maybin and a top-rated power lefty in Andrew Miller, plus plenty of additional goodies besides. Miller and Maybin were very desirable, then more than now perhaps, but only in the same way that we could only have forebodings about Willis--but had no idea how bad that was going to get.

Was it cheap? Sure. But it wasn't a giveaway for nothing, and it was dealing away two years of Cabrera and a year of Willis to get a worthwhile package.

Jan 19, 2010 10:51 AM
 
elm
(41)

Christina, I think one thing missing from your numerous comments on arbitration is that, for the players with less than 6 years of service time, the teams have sole discretion over whether to offer arbitration or not. So, if the team thinks that going to arbitration will lead to below-market salaries, they will offer arbitration but if they think that it will lead to above-market salaries, they won't offer arbitration (unless they value the certainty of keeping that particular player at a higher salary over the possibility of keeping him at a lower salary.)

Thus, while arbitration hearings may lead to higher salaries for some players, the entire arbitration process (including the sole discretion of teams to even offer it) leads to lower overall salaries for players with between 3 and 6 years service time. This is especially true now that more teams seem to understand the fungibility of mid-level talent and are more willing to non-tender arb-eligible players.

Jan 19, 2010 07:54 AM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

I'm not sure there's a point to pointing out the obvious: Who else could have the discretion to offer arbitration?

Instead, I'd point out that this mechanism--as with what happened to Cust in particular--is relatively new in baseball terms, and a product of doing away with the older CBA provisions for not allowing a club to renegotiate with a arbitration-eligible player not offered arbitration until May 1, which famously delayed Tim Raines' return in 1987 during the bad old days of collusion, for example. (Apologies if I'm being obvious or pedantic; these are numbered among my bad habits.)

Adapting to the recent possibilities with a smaller number of players for whom this makes sense (or what we could call the Arbitrate/Liberate=Renegotiate cycle) is a relatively recent phenomenon, one that I'm suggesting clubs have adapted to handily now that it's part of the contractual landscape.

Jan 19, 2010 09:26 AM
 
elm
(41)

As to your first point, I don't think it's so obvious as you have multiple other options. Off the top of my head, you have the post 6-year system where the player has to accept arbitration. Another possibility would be no discretion: all players between 3 and 6 years of service eligibility go to arbitration unless the team and player reach a deal before the hearing. (You'd need rules about cutting players here that would be clunky, but not theoretically impossible.) A third possibility would be no arbitration, but free agency for everyone at year 3, not just free agency for those the teams want to be free agents.

Under the current system, the choice is entirely the team's, and that gives them the power to go to arbitration when it will lead to below-market contracts and not go to arbitration when it will lead to above-market contracts. This entire system (including the choice of whether to offer arbitration) serves to lower salaries more than any of the above scenarios would (I think. Haven't entirely thought through what would happen in the second scenario.)

Of course, there are systems that would lower salaries even more, such as eliminating arbitration and going with complete team control until year 6. So if your point is that the arb system doesn't lower salaries over this alternative, I agree completely.

But you're right that I had forgotten the "no negotiating until May 1" rule, which gave incentive to offer arbitration even if it would yield higher than market salaries. Under this system, arbitration may have been less biased in favor of ownership.

I also agree with you that clubs have adapted to the new system, but that's my point: they've adapted to it such that the system is lowering contract size for 3-6 year players.

Jan 19, 2010 10:33 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

My bad, elm, I didn't understand that you were talking about theoreticals. Since these aren't options, I didn't get into them. We're obviously in agreement re: 3-6 year players as it stands now, but you raise a few interesting possibilities.

Jan 19, 2010 10:54 AM
 
dianagram

CK .... if one accept that much of Byrnes' worth was tied up in his legs, then an age-34 outfielder coming off torn hamstrings may not be worth it, even if the Backs ARE picking up the tab.

Jan 19, 2010 08:51 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

I still figure it's worth a peek. That's as tepid as endorsements get; the alternative is to call the knacker.

Jan 19, 2010 09:17 AM
 
tomterp

Regarding Johnson's announced agreement with the Marlins, if one takes a quick look at his severely back end loaded contract and considers the history of the Marlins, one could surmise that he has at most 2 more seasons as a fish before he'll be dealt. By then, his and Ramirez' also back loaded contract will total more than some recent total Marlins team payrolls have.


Jan 19, 2010 08:53 AM
rating: 0
 
Hokieball

Not that I'm down on Ryan Church, but when a team is evidently trying to put together an all former Nats outfield, I'm not sure how we can call that an improvement.

Jan 19, 2010 09:09 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

It's a reflection on the state of the Pirates; Brandon Moss really was that bad, the latest in a long line of Red Sox outfield prospect disappointments.

Jan 19, 2010 09:14 AM
 
sunpar

Well, the all-Pirates outfield was performing worse.

Jan 19, 2010 09:16 AM
rating: 2
 
sunpar

Josh Johnson's contract: 10:$3.75M, 11:$7.75M, 12:$13.75M, 13:$13.75M

Is there any doubt that the Marlins will be flipping him to a contender for prospects after the 2011 season, a la Beckett?

Jan 19, 2010 09:21 AM
rating: 1
 
sunpar

Actually, I guess Beckett signed his extension after joining the Red Sox. But I think the concept applies.

Jan 19, 2010 09:28 AM
rating: 0
 
Robotey

It does look conspicuously like the one Delgado signed one year before they flipped him to the Mets, doesn't it?

Jan 20, 2010 10:33 AM
rating: 0
 
tomterp

Still, the talk show hosts will go on about "how does it feel to know you're going to be a Marlin for the next four years?" They give the politically correct answers, but must know the probable outcome.

Jan 20, 2010 10:52 AM
rating: 0
 
Vilica

No comment on Kemp re-upping with the Dodgers and buying out two years of arb so cheaply? Seems pretty important.

Jan 21, 2010 11:10 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Christina Kahrl
BP staff
(11)

Because it's very close to a non-event. Given its ubiquity as a solution, avoiding the unpleasantness of arbitration shouldn't lead to gold stars for anybody, even with grade inflation. Having already reached his first year of arbitration eligibility, the Dodgers moved proactively to avoid the process next year. The two parties made rational choices, operating within the constraints of the system. Kemp's a good example of the kind of player making less than his market value because he's not eligible for free agency. He made the most out of his situation, as did the Dodgers. I'm more pedantic than almost anyone, but taking the time to call this "good" is sort of like noting that sunrises are good; it beats not having him at all, of course, but they were set on employing Kemp one way or another regardless. At best, we can see that they chose not to be unpleasant about it, which is nice.

Jan 21, 2010 12:12 PM
 
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