Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Brewers Predictably Lowball Fielder

In all honesty, I just don't like the arbitration process. I think all the lawyers, the offers, and the negotiations take away from the fact that these people are getting paid to play a game. I know that it's a way for players to get paid the money they most likely deserve to be making, but there has to be a better way. A least a way that is a little less nerdy.

As of this writing, the Brewers have just three players needing to go to arbitration after they signed Seth McClung to a 1-year deal on Tuesday. Those players are three pretty vital parts to the Brewers offense in Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks, and Prince Fielder.

I start with Prince Fielder, who as we all know has Scott Boras as his agent. I don't really think it's that big of a deal, Boras is a good agent who knows how to get the most for his players. But Boras is known to infiltrate the minds of his players to make them have a "me first" attitude rather than think for the good of team, and that's a concern for Brewers fans.

Boras and his client submitted a claim for an $8 million salary for the 2009 season, which was $2 million more than the Brewers offered. If you ask me, Prince Fielder probably deserves a little more than $6 million dollars. Considering Melvin had no problem paying $10 million to Eric Gagne last year or that same amount of money to Mike Cameron this year, you think he'd be more than happy to throw $8 million at Prince.

But arbitration is a game, and Melvin doesn't want to give Boras the upper hand, so they lowballed Prince, in my opinion. Just see the $8 million offer and say yes already. This is Prince Fielder we're talking about. But this one should be resolved peacefully, as both Melvin and Boras are optimistic about the upcoming talks.

As for Hart, he is looking for $3.8 million while the Crew has offered $2.7 million. Weeks is seeking $2.8 million while the Brewers have submitted an offer of $2 million. Reasonable figures for both, but if an agreement can't be reached before February, then a panel of three arbitration experts will determine their salaries.

Pretty nerdy.


Anonymous said...

Didn't Hardy sign last week? I think you meant to say Hart. Also, Boras is McClung's agent. That should be helpful with Prince.

Winks said...

Wow, major slip on my behalf. Thanks for the catch.

Anonymous said...

Lowball?! Those are just starting numbers! If Boras really felt Fielder was worth $8 mil. then he should've started out at $9 or 9.5mil. They'll probably settle at $7 or 7.5 mil., so I don't see what the big deal is.

Eric Gagne got $10 mil. because he was a veteran closer & former Cy Young award winner. Sure we all found out he was a bust, but $10 mil. was apparently close to his market value at the time. I don't see how you can compare a veteran FREE AGENT closer & a young arb-eligible first baseman. I think the salary formulas for young players are a bit more rigid than those of free agents.

If Prince wants something close to Ryan Howard money (Howard was making $10 mil. at a similar point in his career), then Fielder needs to go win a ROY award, & MVP award, etc. A time machine might be required for some of that.

If Prince gets back into shape & maintains it & also continues to put up good numbers he should seek & get $9-10 mil. next winter. I don't think Melvin will have problems giving him that kind of money if he performs. Then again maybe he gets traded next winter.

Maybe Boras was thinking $9 mil. & then Melvin showed him video footage of Prince in 2007 & 2008. I hate to say it but Prince is bigger, his offensive stats suffered a bit & his D was sloppier. Just watch a Classic Brewers game sometime ... Prince looked so much leaner & meaner in 07.

Anonymous said...

It was a big gamble for Melvin to originally offer Prince that 5/60 contract, & it was a gamble for Prince to turn it down.

Let's assume Prince makes a total of $30 mil. over his 3 arb. years (i.e. 7.5 mil. in 09, 10.5 mil. in '10, 12 mil. in '11). He'd then need to average $15 mil. over the next two years in order to equal the guaranteed money Melvin offered him over that same time span.

It would have been a gamble for both sides. The big risk for Melvin would be committing that much money to someone who may or may not be in good shape over those five years. Prince is extremely talented & may have the best overall intentions, but his fitness level could be a huge liablilty. Then for Prince the gamble would be compromising his overall earning potential by locking himself into a long contract early in his career.

I'm sure Prince & Mr. Boras are pretty happy to be taking things season to season. I'm pretty sure Doug Melvin, the Brewers & Brewer Nation are even more relieved.

I don't think there's anything wrong with Prince opting to get locked into a big 6 or 7 year deal with 6 years already punched into the service clock. I just hope he knows the amount he gets over his next 3 arb. years & the first three years of the 5/60 Melvin offered might be pretty similar in nature:

2009: $8 mil.
2010: $10 mil.
2011: $12 mil.
2012: $14 mil.
2013: $16 mil.

Anonymous said...

FTR those numbers are purely speculation, but you know.

Anonymous said...

The 5/60 offer from Moustache was real though.

Anonymous said...

I dont think lowball is the right word. I personally thought they would be farther apart than they are. I bet they have a settlement before it goes to a hearing. This is all good news, and if it turns out true Boras and Prince must have not felt lowballed.

Winks said...

All I'm saying is that Fielder is worth more than $6 million, and the Brewers know that. As soon as they saw the $8 million offer from Boras, they should have said, "Fuck this arbitration process, you have a deal."

It's good that the sides are working together, but lets put this one behind us already.

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