Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Jim Bowden had a busy day.

First, he signs Brian Schneider to a contract extension: Four years, $16 million. Not a bad payday. The deal buys out Schneider's final two option years, and his first two years of free agency. It's rare that a player will give up two years of free agency for a non-bank-breaking contract. But the tradeoff in financial security was worth it to him, apparently.

It's a good deal. OMG looks at it more closely, and has the analysis I'd write if I weren't so lazy.

One note... from Ladson's article, he mentions that Schneider had an MRI on his shoulder -- which kept him out of a slew of games at the end of last year. Apparently, it's 100% healthy. Good.

  • Nick Johnson avoided arbitration by signing a 1-year, $3.2 million contract. While specifics weren't mentioned, it includes a number of incentives, presumably for games played.

  • Then came the bomb. The Nats and Soriano, to no one's surprise, weren't able to reach an agreement, so they exchanged arbitration figures. The Nats filed at $10 million, Soriano at $12 million. If they can't come to an agreement, they'll have to have an arbitration hearing. At the hearing, both sides make their case to a third party who typically has the baseball knowledge of someone you pick off the street. The arbiter listens to the stats, and compares the player's stats to those players who have a similar amount of service time. The arbiter then chooses one number -- either the club's or the player's. He can't split the difference.

    In most cases teams settle with the players. It might be in Jim Bowden's best interest to split the difference and try to settle with Soriano, so they can spend all their ammo on the position switch, instead of quibbling over a million bucks or so. (Because all Bowden would do with it anyway is buy another 1.2 Marlon Andersons)

  • Former Nat Brad Wilkerson agreed to a contract with the Texas Rangers for $3.9 million. When looking back at the Soriano trade, you need to keep that in mind. Would the Nats have been better with Wilkerson plus $8 million? Most people would have to conclude that -- especially those who've seen Ramon Ortiz pitch. Interestingly, if Soriano gets his $12 million, they'll probably have paid more for one season of Soriano than they would have for two years of Brad Wilkerson (who still has another year of salary arbitration.)

    There's no use crying over spilled ballpark beer though -- unless it's Blue Moon.

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