On Monday, some lovebirds will spend their Valentine’s Day enjoying a romantic meal from the Pizza Hut buffet. Jose Bautista on the other hand, will likely be sitting in salary arbitration.
All of this without a single breadstick in sight or even the chance to peruse what delectable dessert pizzas are available? It’s a damn shame, I tell you.
So what exactly happens in salary arbitration court? The Biz of Baseball has a great itinerary of a typical hearing, which is broken up into the following segments:
- The hearings start with a one-hour argument for the player making the case for the asking figure they are seeking.
- After arguments for the player, management then has an hour to make their case for their offering figure.
- The one-hour arguments are then followed by 30 minute rebuttals for each side (player goes first, then club).
- The panel of three arbitrators then rule, normally within 48 hours, as to which salary figure (player, or club) that the player will earn during the upcoming season.
So at the bare minimum we’re talking about three hours in a stuffy courtroom listening to both sides argue back and forth and make their case for which submitted salary figure will be awarded.
Apparently attendance by the players themselves isn’t mandatory, but I’m sure it doesn’t hurt the player’s case if they do in fact sit through the entire arbitration hearing.
Having never been through salary arbitration, I don’t know for certain but I imagine it’s likely a very emotionally draining experience. Here you are trying to convince your team you’re deserving of a raise, and on the other side of the courtroom there’s lawyers trying to prove otherwise.
Let’s just say that unless Jose Bautista wins his salary arbitration case, I can’t imagine he’d want to leap right into contract extension talks. Nobody wants to get punched in the gut after getting kicked in the nuts.
Even if Jose does win his case, I don’t foresee him signing a contract extension with the Blue Jays anyway. Another solid year could net Bautista a gigantic payday, and the bright lights of free agency and $100 million dollar contracts could be very tempting for someone who battled through the first stage of his career just to gain some semblance of job security.
On the other hand, an off year from Jose Bautista could bring his expectations down a few notches as in what to expect in free agency. A single outlier season on its own means very little in a “what have you done for me lately” kind of business.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe Jose Bautista deserves every penny that he’s battling for. $10.5 million is chump change compared to the $27.8 million he was worth in 2010 according to FanGraphs. His offensive contributions alone were enough to bring folks to the ballpark.
It’s just that delving long-term contracts out to 30+ year old players is a business that the Blue Jays appear to be getting out of. Unless they’re saving up for Albert Pujols, no thirty-something player is going to garner a $100 million dollar contract from the Blue Jays any time soon.
That’s the reason why they weren’t in on the Adrian Beltre Sweepstakes, it’s the reason why they aren’t gunning for Michael Young, and it’s the reason why Jose Bautista will either walk away a free agent or will be shipped at the trade deadline.
Regardless of what happens on Monday, it feels like the beginning of the end of Jose Bautista’s time with the Toronto Blue Jays. Well … at least we’ll have the upcoming bobbleheads to remember him by.