Rick Cerone: “Robinson Cano . . . what a fool!”

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Former Yankees catcher Rick Cerone was on SiriusXM’s Fantasy Sports Radio channel with hosts Scott Engel and Adam Ronis today, and he had some pretty strong opinions about Robinson Cano signing with the Mariners:

Host/Scott Engel:  “Robinson Cano in Seattle, why is he not hitting for power?”

Rick Cerone:  “Big ballpark.  Big mistake.  No backup.  No protection in the lineup.  I mean, what a fool.  Robinson Cano, I liked him as a Yankee.  What a fool.  Got bad advice.  Yeah, he took more money but you know how much more money and exposure he could’ve had playing in New York, come to the lights.  He’s going to go up to Seattle, we might see him once or twice in an All-Star Game.  He’s only got four home runs.  Four home runs for how many million, 200 and something million dollars?”

Get that logic: “yeah, he went and took all that money, but if he hadn’t taken all of that money and stayed in New York he would’ve made more money!” Maybe someone should explain that to me because I don’t really get it.

He goes on to talk about how the travel from Seattle is brutal and will kill Cano in the long run. And yes, the Mariners fly more miles than anyone. But it’s not exactly middle-seat-on-a-commuter plane stuff. And Cerone uses his own personal experience of travel to and from Seattle to bolster his argument. Of course Cerone never played in Seattle and was only going there for short trips a couple times a year, but I suppose we’ll let him be the expert.

I have no idea what it is with former New York catchers that make them so certain that everyone else on the planet is dumb, but between him and Paul Lo Duca, they have that market cornered.

Here’s the whole interview:

MLBPA thinks all 30 teams will take a “file-and-trial” approach to arbitration

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There’s something interesting deep in Ken Rosenthal’s latest notes column. It’s about arbitration, with Rosenthal reporting that the players union believes that all 30 teams will take a “file-and-trial” approach to arbitration this winter.

If you’re unfamiliar with this, it breaks down thusly:

  • In mid-January, teams and players who are eligible for arbitration will exchange proposed salary figures. The player says what he thinks he’s worth based on comparable players of his quality and service time and the team will propose a lower counter-figure;
  • Generally, the parties then use these proposals as negotiable figures and eventually reach a compromise deal, usually near the midpoint between the two figures, avoiding arbitration;
  • If a deal cannot be reached, they go to an arbitration hearing and arbitrators pick one of the numbers. They CANNOT give a compromise award. It’s either the higher player’s number or the lower team number.

In the past, a handful of teams — most typically the Blue Jays, Braves, Marlins, Rays, and White Sox — employed a “file- and-trial” approach, meaning that they treated the figure exchange date as a hard deadline after which they refused to negotiate and stood content to go to a hearing. As more teams have adopted this approach, there have been more arbitration hearings. As Rosenthal notes, last year there were more hearings than in any offseason for the past 25 years. Now, the union thinks, every team will do this. If they do, obviously, there will be even more hearings.

There is certainly an advantage to file-and-trial for a team. It makes the player and the agent work harder and earlier in order to be prepared to negotiate with the club before the file deadline. It also makes them work a lot harder to come up with a defensible filing number given that, rather than merely being an opening salvo in an extended negotiation, it’s something that they will certainly have to defend in open court. It’s also simple hardball. Teams have greater resources than the players and the agents and it’s less painful for them to pay for lawyers and hearing prep and to conduct the actual hearing. There’s risk to the team, of course — they might lose and pay more than a settlement would’ve cost — but teams are obviously concluding that the risk is worth it.

The only question I have is, if the union is right and all 30 teams will now proceed this way, how was that decided? Everyone suddenly, after several decades of arbitration, simply decided to take the same approach? Or was there, I dunno, a meeting in which the strategy was coordinated? Inquiring minds want to know!