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Wednesday, December 10, 2008
News on Two Members of the 2008 Salary Arbitration Hearing Group - Francisco Rodriguez and Mark Loretta

As noted in Gabe Feldman's earlier post today, Francisco Rodriguez has reached a three-year, $37 million agreement with the New York Mets to bring the closer from Anaheim to New York. Rodriguez, who set a Major League record last year with 62 saves, went to a hearing last year and lost when his panel (Stephen Goldberg, Elizabeth Neumeier, Steven Wolf) chose the Angels’ figure of $10 million instead of his request for $12.5 million. According to Anthony DiComo for, Agent Paul Kinzer was hoping for a five-year, $75 million contract for Rodriguez. The general economic condition and the number of free agent closers on the market worked against Kinzer and Rodriguez.

Another hearing player from last year who is close to signing this week is Mark Loretta. According to an AP story in USA Today, Loretta will sign a one-year deal with the Dodgers. Last year Loretta sought $4.9 million from the Astros, but his panel chose the team’s figure of $2.75 million. Loretta played in 101 games in 2008, his lowest total since his 2000 campaign with the Brewers, and he posted a batting average of .280. Loretta will be entering his 15th season next year with a career batting average of .297. He played all four infield positions last year for Houston. He will be returning to his native state of California. Loretta was born in Santa Monica in 1971.


Mark Loretta’s one-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers was completed yesterday according to Ken Gurnick for Loretta will earn $1.25 million from the Dodgers for the upcoming season with an incentive package worth an additional $250,000. As I mentioned yesterday, the offer from the Dodgers provides Loretta with a chance to play for the team that he grew up rooting for.

Blogger Ed Edmonds -- 12/11/2008 8:29 AM  

I wish the Astros could keep Loretta.This is a good pick up for the Dodgers.

Anonymous Alex -- 12/13/2008 12:43 PM  

I am curious to what degree you believe the state of the economy actually played a role in K-Rod's recent contract. While the total value was significantly less than he had originally been seeking, it seemed as though a near consensus existed among baseball analysists that he was overvaluing his actual worth. Due to his name alone, the viable market for his services was extremely limited-only large market teams, in need of a closer stood a chance at signing him. Also, given the manner in which the off season developed, there was a glut of closers available, either through FA or trade. These three factors had to have worked against his original contract demands.

So, was it the economy, or the factors noted above which led to the contract K-Rod agreed to?

As a follow-up, are MLB teams using the economy as a guise to attempt to dampen the increasing value of player contracts?

Anonymous Nicholas R Adams -- 12/14/2008 12:56 PM  

Nicholas - Your comments are well taken. We both mentioned the number of closers on the market as a factor that Francisco Rodriguez and his agent had to work with this year. I think that you are correct that only the large market teams want to consider a large salary for a closer. The top ten teams by average salary last year were the Yankees, Cubs, Angels, White Sox, Red Sox, Tigers, Mets, Astros, Brewers, and Phillies. After you analyze their needs for a closer and the number of possible closers on the market, you can gauge that impact on the original asking price. You also have to consider where teams are willing to put their money. Some teams figure that putting big money in a long-term deal for a closer is unwise. I think it is a combination of these factors and the economy. I also suspect that you are correct that the economy may be used by teams to try and depress the market this year. The Yankees, on the other hand, are not doing that at all.

Blogger Ed Edmonds -- 12/16/2008 11:45 AM  

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