RFB Offseason Roundtable

Right Field BleachersCorrespondent IJanuary 23, 2009

This week’s topic: Now that the numbers have been submitted: What do you think Hart, Fielder, and Weeks’ salaries are going to be and Is anyone going to go into arbitration hearings?

Jared -

I actually don’t think any of the players will go to arbitration. I felt that Prince would go, but obviously he seems to have worked a deal out with the Brewers. With just Weeks and Hart left as players that are due arbitration that haven’t signed a deal, I think the Brewers will be able to knock out agreements before the hearings. They’ll probably agree to deals at close to the middle point of the numbers submitted, though I think Hart’s number was a bit high. I think Hart will settle for around $3 million and Weeks will settle for around $2.5 million.

Tyler -

Though Doug Melvin has never attended and arbitration hearing in his tenure as Brewers GM, it looks as if he won’t be so fortunate this year. Of Milwaukee’s six arbitration eligible players, three players – Dave Bush ($4M), J.J. Hardy ($4.65M) and Seth McClung ($1.6625M) – have agreed to very reasonable deals. I don’t feel as confident of the other three signings going as painless and favorably as those did.
I’m just speculating here, but I see at least one hearing in Melvin’s near future, with the strong possibility of a second.
I do not imagine Rickie Weeks will opt to go to a hearing. If his less-than-impressive play and injury-riddled past aren’t enough to keep him from pleading his case, the fact that (unlike the other five arbi-eligible players) he’s only up for a slight raise from last season’s pay might help sway him to sign soon. With just an $800K difference in submitted figures, I expect the two sides to avoid a hearing and agree to a $2.4M deal – the exact middle of the two salaries.
I don’t know what to think about Corey Hart. He had another 20/20 season in 2008, a season where his own fans mistakenly willed him into an all-star gam e he had little part being in. I’ve heard that in such hearings, all-star appearances and certain numeric “milestones” are sometimes factored in – all things that occurred before he flatlined over months of the season. That, mixed with Hart’s apparent obliviousness with, well, everything may lead him to test the waters of a hearing. Maybe he’ll realize he’s going to hear about his recent shittiness and put two and two together (seemingly difficult to do in the Hart family) and come to know that squeezing every last cent out of a team will only bold his name on many a Brewers’ fan shitlist. But I doubt it. Hearing or not, I’d assume Hart will get somewhere between $3 and $3.2M in 2009.
Prince Fielder will almost certainly waddle to an arbitration hearing. Blame his agent, his greed, his Hart-like obliviousness or his wrongfully inflated opinion of himself. He’s no longer a team leader, he’s not Ryan Howard and he’s not going to be a Brewer for too much longer. For these reasons, I think Milwaukee’s front office has no qualms with taking Fielder to a hearing in which he’ll probably get between $6 and $7M – and whine about it.

Jack -

Well, since I’m here for numbers, let’s take a look at some.

Corey Hart -
Last 2 years: 4.6 WAR, 1.3 WAR for an avg 2.9 WAR, worth approx. 12 million dollars open market. An average 1st-year arb player makes about 40% of that which comes to ~4.8 million.  However, Hart projects closer to a 1.8 or 2.0 win player based on last year mainly, so we’ll say 8M open market, which ocmes to 3.2M for arb1.  I expect, however, based on hi’s terrible end of the season and his hostility towards the fans, that the arbitrators will side with the club (2.7M).

Rickie Weeks -
Last 2 years: 3.1 WAR, 1.9 WAR for an avg. 2.5 WAR, worth approx 10 million dollars open market.  40% of that comes out to 4M.  Unlike Hart, Weeks projects a little higher than this at about 3 WAR, worth about 13 or 14 million.  40% of that comes out to 5.2-5.6M.  It’ll be hard to rule for the club on this one, so I say the arbitrators will award the 2.8M to Rickie, which is still a steal for Milwaukee.

Prince Fielder -
Last 2 years: 5.1 WAR, 2.7 WAR for an avg 4.1 WAR, worth approx 20 million dollars open market.  40% of that comes out to 8M.  Fielder projects to be worth closer to 3 WAR, so his figures come in at 15M open market/6M arb1.  The 7M/11M he’ll get for the next two years is slightly over his fair market value, but since his perceived skills are probably valued higher than they’re actually worth, this should really help his trade market if the Brewers feel it is necessary to trade him over the course of the next two years.

*This was supposed to be put up on Thursday night, but I wasn’t able to get to a computer due to and some circumstances (PF) may have changed.