Monday, February 14, 2005

Mere Mortals

I’m sorry but Kyle Lohse just isn’t worth it. Last week, the Twins’ 26-year old starter, who earned $395,00 in 2004, won his arbitration case with the club and will receive $2.4 million in 2005. That's a raise of slightly more than a $2 million for those who are counting. This after going 9-13 with a 5.34 ERA last season. In four big league campaigns the right-hander is 40-39 with 4.86 ERA. I’d love to see a transcript of the arbitration panel’s deliberations if for no other reason than I haven’t read any good fiction in a while.

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Larry Bowa turned down the opportunity to despoil the Florida Marlins’ clubhouse for, what else, the bigger bucks and audience he will reach by appearing regularly on XM radio’s baseball channel and on ESPN. Don’t look for him to last more than a season at either venue. Four years of listening to the occasional post-game press conference convinced this observer Bowa has little insight to offer about the game and even less about those who play it.

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Curt Schilling, ever gracious, has donated his bloody sock to the baseball Hall of Fame thus sparing us a potentially awkward replay of the debate that gripped the entire Route 128 corridor concerning ownership of that other relic to enter Red Sox lore, “the ball” Doug Mientkiewicz gripped at the end of the World Series. Schilling, keenly aware of baseball history and his place in it, must have peeled off the sock immediately following his appearance on prime time television and forbidden the clubhouse laundry service from including it among the uniforms of his teammates, mere mortals that they are.


Tom G said...

Bowa on XM? I was already thinking I would have to avoid ESPN because of him and turn to XM.....there goes that strategy...

Anonymous said...

I too was amused by the Kyle Lohse arbitration ruling. The process itself receives too little notice for the inflationary impact it has on player salaries.
What was not mentioned in your post was that the Twins lost the case even though they offered $2.15 million. So here's a player who had a below-average season, no real track record of excellence, the team offered him a 400+% raise, and an impartial panel felt that was not enough!
So yes, what could that panel have been thinking that made them decide that $2.15 million was less reasonable than $2.4 million for the season Lohse had?
I don't have the data, but the average salary increase for players that "lose" arbitartion hearings has got to be well over 100%.
George S

Tom Goodman said...

Thank you for adding those details. I was aware of them but in my haste to express my outrage I omitted them. Your point is very well taken. These awards have, over time, indeed contributed significantly to the inflation of salaries. I still would like to see a transcript of the Lohse hearing or, failing that, hear the arbitrators' "rationale" for awarding him the higher figure. But as you point out, the Twins' original offer hardly demonstrates fiscal responsibility. Perhaps they were betting on his finally fulfilling his potential. Or perhaps they feared losing him in the future if they didn't show him enough respect at the teller window. Fear, as usual, and perception, no doubt, play a huge role in the arbitration process. On that front, it is interesting to compare the figures offered to the arbitration panel by both sides for the Phils' Jason Michaels. Here is someone who stepped into a difficult situation last season, played very well at times, had a decent year by contemporary standards, and is probably (I don't have the figures) still being paid far below the average salary for his position, especially for a "starter", part-time or displaced as he will be this season by Kenny Lofton.