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Monday, February 15, 2010
Cody Ross - Arbitration Hearing Three

Cody Ross and the Florida Marlins headed to their hearing this morning. According to reports that I have read, the arbitration panel for this case was Margaret Brogan, Howard Edelman, and James Oldham. The Marlins, like their counterpart in Tampa Bay, use a file-and-go philosophy with their salary-arbitration players. Ross played in 2009 for $2,225,000, and he is seeking a raise to $4,450,000. The Marlins responded with an offer of $4,200,000 leaving a midpoint of $4,325,000 and a gap of $250,000. Another similarity with the Rays is the relatively small gap in the two exchanged figures number. The gap in the Upton-Tampa Bay case was $300,000. The Rays won their case on Saturday to maintain the only perfect record in arbitration. The Philadelphia Phillies had a 7-0 record until they lost their case to Ryan Howard in 2008.

Ross’s primary 2009 and career statistics are:

G - 151 - 483; PA - 559 - 1506; 2B - 37 - 99; SO - 122 - 354; HR - 24 - 72; BA - .270 - .264; OBP - .321 - .323; SLG - .469 - .484

Ross and Corey Hart are in the same service class. The Hart decision last week did not help the Marlins.

I will place additional analysis in the comments section related to this post. There is one more hearing that will most certainly happen this week because the Astros have a similar philosophy to the Marlins and Rays. That one is between Houston and Wandy Rodriguez on Wednesday. Other cases that have not settled yet are the Angels and Erick Aybar and Jeff Mathis, the Nationals and Brian Bruney and Sean Burnett, and the Chicago Cubs and Ryan Theriot.


The Ross panel is much less experienced than the panel that decided the Upton case. According to my research, this is the first case for Howard Edelman. James Oldham's first hearing was last year, and he sided with the Rays in the Dioner Navarro case. This is the sixth case for Margaret Brogan. Prior to this hearing, her panels had decided three cases for teams and two for players. Here is her list:

Team Wins

Mark Loretta - Astros - 2008
Rodrigo Lopez - Orioles - 2006
Josh Paul - Rays - 2006

Player Wins

Chad Cordero - Nationals - 2007
Emil Brown - Royals - 2006

Blogger Ed Edmonds -- 2/15/2010 5:40 PM  

Cody Ross played a total of 151 games in the outfield for the Marlins last year. He played 103 games in CF and 57 in RF. He started 100 in CF and 49 in RF. That is 64% and 67%. He did not play CF for the Tigers, Dodgers, and Reds, but he only played in a total of 30 games for those three teams, so that is not particularly relevant. Cameron Maybin spent the middle of last year in New Orleans, but the Marlins hope that he takes over in center this year sending Ross over to right field. So let us look at a few outfielders in the same service group as Ross: Conor Jackson, Jeff Franceour, Ryan Ludwick, Hunter Pence, and Josh Willingham.

Conor Jackson settled for $3,100,000 earlier this year. He should be headed back to the outfield with Arizona’s signing of Adam LaRoche. Jackson missed much of last year due to Valley Fever so the Marlins might have trouble convincing the panel to put a lot of stock in Jackson as a comparable player. Jeff Franceour signed for $5,000,000. Franceour has significantly more plate appearances in his career, but the 2009 totals are not that dissimilar. Corey Hart won his hearing and received 4,800,000. When you compare Hart’s offer from the Brewers with Ross’ offer from the Marlins, the figures are only $50,000 apart. Hart’s midpoint of $4,475,000 is slightly higher than the Marlins’ offer to Ross. Here is where the order of hearings plays a part. Because Hart won his case last week, the Marlins now have to deal with this decision being positive for Ross’ team. Ryan Ludwick signed with the Cardinals for $5,450,000. I think Ludwick’s numbers are a good bit stronger than Ross, but his number is way above the conversation about Ross. Hunter Pence settled for $3,500,000 after exchanging figures with the Astros ($4,100,000 - $3,100,000). Pence has the edge in a number of categories, so his numbers all help the Marlins. Josh Willingham signed with the Nationals for $4,600,000. Willingham and Ross both had 24 home runs last year, and they also share the same career batting average.

The Hart decision and Franceour and Willingham’s salaries could push this case towards Ross. The gap is so close that it makes it easy to justify either number, and this panel has heard only a total of six cases prior to today. If the players above form the heart of the group presented by both sides, I think that Ross might get the nod.

Blogger Ed Edmonds -- 2/15/2010 9:07 PM

Cody Ross won his hearing

Blogger Pbenn001 -- 2/16/2010 11:21 AM  

I am reading reports this morning that Cody Ross did win his hearing. That drops the Marlins to 3-5 in hearings. Here is a listing:

Team Wins

Kevin Gregg - 2007
A.J. Burnett - 2003
Vladimir Nunez - 2003

Player Wins

Cody Ross - 2010
Dan Uggla - 2009
Miguel Cabrera - 2007
Mark Redman - 2003
Charles Johnson - 1998

Blogger Ed Edmonds -- 2/16/2010 11:22 AM  


Can you explain what "use a file-and-go philosophy" means?

Blogger Paul -- 2/17/2010 11:10 AM  

I'm not Ed, but "file and go" means that the team files their salary number and then they go to a hearing without negotiating anymore. Usually, teams negotiate with the player all the way up to the hearing (as the Giants did with Lincecum).

Blogger Pbenn001 -- 2/17/2010 11:57 AM  

Thank you for explaining pbenn.

Speaking of Lincecum, has it been determined why MLB was going to represent the Giants in the Lincecum hearing (before he agreed to a 2 year deal)?

I am also very interested in analysis of whether or not Lincecum would have likely won his hearing, as the amount requested ($13M) is unprecedented (for an arbitration). Some would correctly point out that his performance was also unprecedented.

If so, how would a panel make a determination when there are no comparables, with the closest being Ryan Howard, a hitter?

Blogger Paul -- 2/17/2010 2:08 PM  

Paul - Here is a quotation about the file-and-go strategy from my article, "A Most Interesting Part of Baseball's Monetary Structure-Salary Arbitration in Its Thirty-Fifth Year." The article just came out a few weeks ago and can be found on page 1 of volume 20 of the Marquette Sports Law Review (the discussion begins on page 28):

"In establishing an interesting strategy to deal with Evan Longoria and David Price, the Rays joined a small group of teams, including the Rays and Astros (it should also include the Marlins), to alter the dynamics of the arbitration process and force the player’s hand with a strategy nicknamed “File-and-go.” Basically, after an agreement to accept arbitration, the team’s position is to negotiate up to the point of exchanging figures. If the two sides cannot reach an agreement prior to the exchange, the team will no longer negotiate after numbers are filed but will instead proceed directly to the hearing. This philosophy was used by the Astros in 2008 with Mark Loretta and Jose Valverde and in 2009 by the Rays with Dioner Navarro and by the Marlins with Dan Uggla."

Blogger Ed Edmonds -- 2/18/2010 1:30 PM  


I am not familiar with the fact that MLB was going to represent the Giants during the hearing, so I cannot speak to that. Let me know if you have a link to that somewhere.

It's not a matter of it Lincecum would have gotten $13 million at his hearing. It all comes down to the midpoint of the two figures, which, in this case, was $10.5 million. So, as long as his agent/representative could prove that he was worth one penny more than $10.5 million, he would win his case and get $13 million. As you said, his performance was unprecedented, so I would hazard a guess and say that he would have most likely won his hearing.

I'm really surprised that he only signed a 2 year deal with the Giants considering Verlander and Felix Hernandez signed multi-year deals worth a lot of money this offseason.

As far as comparables, his representatives would have to use pitchers as you really cannot compare pitchers to hitters since they are essentially apples and oranges. So, you would have to just compare him to pitchers with 1 year more/less in service time and use their performance numbers (ERA, WHIP, etc.) and Awards to compare Lincecum to those pitchers. I think the comparisons would be favorable to Lincecum since his ERA and everything else is so low and he has multiple Cy Youngs as well. This is why I think he'd prevail.

I hope I answered everything that you asked. If not, let me know.

Blogger Pbenn001 -- 2/19/2010 9:48 AM  

Paul - Let me follow up on the Pbenn posting. Many teams hire a firm to represent them at hearings. Adam Lupion at Proskaeur Rose has handled the following successful cases according to the information on the firm's website - Navarro (Rays), Fuentes (Rockies), Beltran (Royals), and Burnett (Marlins). I also suspect that he handled part of the Rays' presentation involving B.J. Upton because Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times mentioned Proskaeur's involvement in one of his articles on the hearing.

Also, Tal Smith, the former GM of the Astros, has a firm, Tal Smith Enterprises, that handles cases for management. I think he was involved in the Wandy Rodriguez case that the Astros won earlier this week.

Pitchers and multi-year deals are an interesting discussion. In the law review article that I plan to write about this year, I will consider that issue involving Tim Lincecum. The Giants offered a 3-year, $37,000,000 deal. The Lincecum team countered with a similar term but a figure north of $40,000,000. The deal that was signed was for 2 years with the Giants' arbitration figure of $8,000,000 for this year and the Lincecum arbitration figure of $13,000,000 for the following year plus a $2,000,000 signing bonus pro-rated over both years.

With Lincecum's "violent" motion and the number of innings he has pitched in his short major league career, the Giants might be concerned about his durability. The Yankees refused to give Chien-Ming Wang a multi-year deal in 2008 because of their concerns about giving such deals to any young pitcher. That proved to be a wise decision from their perspective. So, the Giants were happy to lock up Lincecum for two years, and Lincecum and his advisors are rolling the dice that he will have two great years. If he does have two great years, he will be in a solid position to force the Giants into either working out a tremendous multi-year deal at that point or just accepting the fact that he will become a free agent after he reaches that service time point because the Giants just cannot afford to pay him what the Yankees or the Red Sox or a similar team can afford to give him. For a comparison of this look into the history of the Twins and Johan Santana.

Many of the people that I have read writing about the Lincecum case thought that he had a good chance of getting the $13,000,000 figure based on the analysis in the Pbenn posting about the midpoint. When Ryan Howard went to arbitration and won this $10,000,000 figure in 2008 ($7,000,000 was the Phillies' number), I was really surprised. Not so much over the value of Howard who had a similar problem with finding a comparable beyond Albert Pujols at the same point in his career, but with my thought that an arbitration panel would just not jump from Howard's $900,000 salary in 2007 to $10,000,000.

Harold Reynolds on MLB Network argued that it will be easier for Lincecum to argue his case after 2011 when he is at $13,000,000 than it was this year to move from $650,000 to either the Giants or Lincecum's figure. Keep in mind that the Giants agreed to a 7-year, $126,000,000 deal with Barry Zito covering 2007-2013.

Blogger Ed Edmonds -- 2/19/2010 12:10 PM  

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