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Friday, February 12, 2010
Corey Hart, the Brewers, and Baseball Salary Arbitration - Hart Wins
Corey Hart and the Milwaukee Brewers conducted the first arbitration hearing of the year yesterday. For the Brewers, this is only the fourth hearing in the history of the franchise, and it is the first for general manager Doug Melvin, who took over for Dean Taylor in 2002.
Here are the important numbers:
Brewers Offer - $4,150,000; Hart’s request - $4,800,000
Midpoint - $4,475,000; Gap - $650,000
Hart previous salary - $3,250,000; Increase requested - $1,550,000; Increase offered - $900,000
Hart has 4 years and 38 days of major league service. According to my research, there are 18 outfielders in the service group between 4 and 5 years. I would submit that this is the main starting point for setting up a list of comparable players. Perhaps the most interesting to consider from this list are the following players: Jeff Francoeur (New York Mets), Conor Jackson (Arizona), Jeremy Hermida (Boston), Ryan Ludwick (St. Louis), Cody Ross (Florida), and Josh Willingham (Washington). I will detail my analysis in the comments’ section of this blog.
If the arbitration panel consisted of a representative group of Brewers’ fans who have commented on this case, Hart would be in trouble. It seems to be that at least 67% of the comments that I have read are against Hart. Part of that, of course, is that many fans feel that all players make too much. The reported panel that heard the case is Elizabeth Neumeier, John Sands, and Sylvia Skratek. Neumeier is a veteran panel member. According to my research her panel record is 13-9 in favor of teams. Sands’ record is 4-2 in favor of teams, and Skratek decided her first case in 2008 when she agreed with the Astros in their hearing against Jose Valverde.
I am going to lean slightly toward the Brewers in part in deference to their history of trying to settle all of their cases and an analysis of the numbers. However, if the panel thinks that Francoeur and Willingham are two strong comparable players, they could go with the outfielder.
I have added five comments detailing my analysis of the outfielders in the same service group, the panel of arbitrators, and the general managers involved in the previous four decisions by the Brewers.