Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Brewers' Arby Cases

Four Milwaukee Brewers filed for arbitration this week, most notably Ben Sheets. Sheets filed for a 2005 salary of $6.5 million, while the club offered to pay him $5.5 million. The $1 million difference was easily the largest of any of the four cases. Other players to file were Brady Clark, Junior Spivey, and Brooks Kieschnick. It is likely that only the Sheets arby case will actually go to court. The other three were very close in salary demands that they will most likely be resolved somewhere in between each side's asking price. In fact, Kieschnick just signed a 1 year deal with the club today.

Several factors go into determining a player's value in the arbitration process. The arbitrator considers the player's career statistics, the number of years of major league service, the health of the player, past salaries, fan attendance, and the financial state of the ball club. A heavier weight is given to what has happened to the player as well as the club in the previous year.

When I heard that Sheets "only" asked for $6.5 million, I was ecstatic. I had figured on him asking for somewhere in the 8 - 10 million range after coming off the best season a Brewers pitcher has ever had. I immediately thought, just give him his extra million, but then took another look at it.

Sheets had offseason back surgery to remove a disc in his lower back, the same procedure I had done over a year ago. There is no guarantee that he will be able to completely recover from it, although all signs point to him being able to. He has logged only four seasons in the big leagues, with last season being his only truly spectacular season. Was last season a sign of things to come, or was it an aberration in that he will revert back to a league average pitcher? So after thinking about it a little more, I think each side's demands make sense.


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