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There’s corrosion, then there’s CORROSION.

February 20, 2017

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Arbitration hearings are a nasty business. The team is already getting the player well below open-market value. Now they’re trying to get the player for even less money than what both sides figure is the supressed-value midpoint. I’m not going Communist on you here; I’m just saying it leaves a bad taste in a player’s mouth, particularly after multiple years at the major league minimum. Market value might be $9 million, the historical arb midpoint might be $2.5 million, and here’s the team arguing before a panel that the player should be awarded even less. The optics are, as Trump or DAVID might say, “not good”.

Teams do win their share of these cases. The team offers less than the historical midpoint, the player asks for more, and the whim of the three-person arb panel chooses one figure or the other.

Sometimes the player asks for what’s mathematically too much. Enter Dellin Betances. MLB Trade Rumors, who are pretty good with midpoints, said $3.4 million, and sure enough the Yankees came in lower at $3 million. Betances asked for $5 million, and most observers thought he’d lose because he was so far away from $3.4 million.

He lost.

But here’s a top tip for front-office types: don’t spike the football. That’s exactly what Yanks’ prez  Randy Levine did. Nice, if slanted, summary here:

http://deadspin.com/yankees-president-randy-levine-devalues-and-dismisses-d-1792515203

Key bit:

[I]t apparently wasn’t enough for Yankees president Randy Levine simply to be able to underpay the three-time All-Star, because he then went off and accused Betances of requesting an “over the top” salary “not based on reality.”

 

Levine called a press conference this morning where he criticized Betances’s agent for “using” him to try to “change a marketplace.””

Oh.

My feelings on the rest of that article are mixed. This space has long argued that Saves are too important in the arbitration process, but we also don’t think the Yanks need to pay Betances $1.6 million above the arb-point just because they’ve got the money lying around. These are topics for another time (and we’ve criticised the Save-stat a lot here already in the last five years).

Where the Yankees have fucked up here is that this is only Betances’ first time through arbitration, and Levine’s mouthing off has left them with an unhappy camper.

So what, you say, since they’ve signed Aroldis Chapman to be their closer for five or six years? Well, again, putting aside saves-aren’t-everything, the team may have lost the chance to go back to Betances in a few weeks or months and sign him to a team-friendly deal. The Yankees, being the Evil Empire they are, could even sign him to, oh, I don’t know, 5 years and $36 million (3/5/8/10/10) and then trade his arse at the deadline this year or next for a boatlod of prospects.

Andrew Miller, anybody?

Instead, Betances will likely go year-to-year, and the Yanks will either get less for him in trade, or see him leave for nothing after 2019.

All because Levine had to call a press conference to gloat.

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