More Peter Gammons. This time, as is his wont, plainly yet eloquently states why we shouldn’t listen to any of the owners cry poverty this offseason:
As unpleasant as it may be, go back to the bleak midwinter of 1994-95, and the strike that canceled the World Series. Revenues at that time were in the $1.5 billion-$1.7 billion range. Owners were begging the players to accept some form of salary cap based on the players’ splitting 55 percent of revenue, claiming that at the time players were actually being paid more than 60 percent. At the recent meetings, players were told their share is now somewhere around 46 percent, so as record revenues held they shouldn’t listen to those owners who make it sound as if they’re facing foreclosure.
It’s one thing for a team to say “we’re not interested in pursuing free agent X because we don’t want to spend that much money.” At least that’s true and, depending on where the team is on the success cycle, often defensible from a competitive point of view. It’s another thing altogether to say “we can’t pursue free agent X because we’re dead broke and the salaries are too high and baseball needs a salary cap, blah, blah, blah.” That’s just implausible, and such talk is aimed at winning a P.R. game as opposed to reflecting reality.
Even in these dark economic times, the owners are making much more money than they used to, and they’re keeping a much higher percentage of that money than they used to. It’s all good and sporting to slag on the allegedly greedy players. Why don’t people get more bent out of shape about the greedy owners?
Steve Gilbert of MLB.com reports that the Diamondbacks and outfielder A.J. Pollock have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year extension. The deal is worth $10.25 million, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Pollock was arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter. The 28-year-old requested $3.9 million and was offered $3.65 million by the Diamondbacks when figures were exchanged on January 15. It wasn’t much of a gap, but the two sides were ultimately able to find common ground on a multi-year deal. Pollock will still be under team control for one more year after this new deal expires.
Pollock is coming off a breakout 2015 where he batted .315/.367/.498 with 20 home runs, 76 RBI, and 39 stolen bases over 157 games. He ranked sixth among position players with 7.4 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), according to Baseball Reference.
The Blue Jays and 2015 American League Most Valuable Player Josh Donaldson have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $29 million contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca.
Donaldson was arbitration-eligible for the second time this winter. He filed for $11.8 million and was offered $11.35 million by the Blue Jays when figures were exchanged last month. It wasn’t a big gap, but since the Blue Jays are a “file and trial” team, they bring these cases to an arbitration hearing unless a multi-year deal can be worked out. As opposed to last winter, they were able to avoid a hearing this time around. Donaldson was originally a Super Two player, so he’ll still have one year of arbitration-eligibility once this two-year deal is completed.
The 30-year-old Donaldson is coming off a monster first season in Toronto where he batted .297/.371/.568 with 41 homers while leading the American League with 123 RBI.
Brandon Belt filed for $7.5 million and was offered $5.3 million by the Giants when arbitration figures were exchanged last month. That’s a pretty sizable gap. While there’s still a chance that an agreement will be worked out at the last minute, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that an arbitration hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Giants haven’t gone to an arbitration hearing since 2004, when they lost to catcher A.J. Pierzynski. Schulman hears from one person involved that because of the gap between Belt and the Giants, there’s a real chance this will break that string and require a hearing.
Belt batted .280/.356/.478 with 18 home runs and 68 RBI over 137 games in 2015, but he dealt with concussion symptoms for the second straight season. An arbitration hearing could bring some unpleasant conversation to the surface.
The Padres have inked veteran utility player Skip Schumaker to a minor league contract, per FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Schumaker, who turned 36 last week, has spent the last two seasons with the Reds. He batted .242/.306/.336 with one home run and 21 RBI over 131 games last season while making starts between all three outfield spots and second base. Cincinnati cut ties with him in November after declining a $2.5 million club option for 2016.
While Schumaker had to settle for a non-guaranteed deal here, it would be no surprise to see him land a bench job with the Padres come Opening Day.