Dear Internet:

I’m with you on most things. I will occasionally objectify a woman through your pages. I will repeatedly view videos of dudes getting hit in the nuts on your video players. And I’ll always engage in arguments that require me to embrace dichotomies and ignore such things as grey areas and middle grounds (name calling optional) through your social media.

However, I draw the line at criticizing the contracts  that arbitration eligible players sign with their respective clubs in order to avoid having a hearing before an arbitrator to decide their salary.

Over the weekend, Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus signed a $2.7 million contract in his first year of arbitration eligibility, and people were actually expressing an opinion about it. Now, I’m all for arguments in favour or against free agent contracts or player trades or even signing bonuses – it’s part of the bread and butter of this blog – but the amount of money that arbitration-seeking players end up receiving, especially in their first year of arbitration, is already so well-defined through precedent and performance that front offices and agents can’t help but work out a fair deal.

Yes, occasionally a team and a player will be far apart on how they value a performance, but small differences are much more common than large ones. The rule of thumb, for which exceptions certainly exist, is that a player’s three arbitration years will net them 40%/60%/80% of what they would receive as an annual salary on the free agent market.

If we take that rule of thumb and apply it to Rasmus, his salary in 2012 assumes that he’d make $6.75 million on the free agent market. This valuation assumes that he’d be worth just over a single win above replacement if we apply Fangraphs’ $5 million / WAR calculation. If we look at the first three years of Rasmus’ career, he’s averaged just under three wins above replacement per season. $2.7 million is a good and fair amount to pay for Rasmus.

And we shouldn’t expect anything less or more from a player’s first year of arbitration. This is how the entire process is set up.


Dustin Parkes

Comments (77)

  1. I figured as much, fair deal both ways. Rasmus gets a chance to shine and we only have to pay 2.7 mil for that opportunity.

  2. his salary in 2012 assumes that he’d make $6.75 million on the free agent market

    Or about what Coco Crisp got. Sounds about right.

  3. Are people really complaining about the Jays paying $2.7M to Rasmus?

    • Borderline fans are. Don’t forget, the borderline fans in Canada are Hockey fans first, baseball fans second. 2.7 mil in Hockey is a 2nd line winger or middle tier contributor. In baseball, its a bench player.

      • I watch both intently. People don’t fall into hockey fan and baseball fan categories. I didn’t know we operated under a two-sport system. Further, the sport you watch has no representation as to your level of intelligence. Both are great, in my opinion, though baseball is simpler.

        Keep up the haughtiness, if you need it.

        • You assumed I was being critical of hockey diehards. I’m not. They can love hockey as much as I love baseball or football. I’m just mentioning the lack of general baseball knowledge among the casual fan. I see a lot of the same in my own group of friends. The readers of this blog, are obviously a lot more committed to baseball than your standard hockey lover. The glass can be half full as well my friend.

          Keep up the ignorance, if you need it.

    • You have to understand, this is one of the most expensive contracts in the Anthopoulos era, so it seems like a lot of money to give to a baseball player.

  4. Stopped reading at title.

  5. That’s a lot of dagum muddin tires.

  6. 2.7 buys alot of weed. Smokey Rasmus be very hoppy. Maybe next year he’ll get 4.20.

  7. Didn’t you just express an opinion via this post? The opinion being that it was a fair deal?

  8. The Toronto Star is turning on AA…

    “Eventually, the slack in that rope gets used up — by losses and bad contracts and missed deals and the simple passage of time. Then the collar begins to tighten. For the first time in his nearly 2 ½ years as GM of the Blue Jays, Alex Anthopoulos has begun to feel the tugging.”

    • Yup, Cathal Kelly, another T-Star drone that knows nothing about baseball, but tries to write about it anyway. These hockey writers should stay away from baseball.

      • I can’t speak for Kelly but he was on the Jays beat for years and is, by and large, a good writer.

      • Yeah, I don’t see anything wrong with that excised paragraphs. I haven’t read the whole story yet, though.

        • My comments stem from only ever hearing the guy talk about hockey and almost nothing but with the TSN guys, who seem to have a right stick up their ass about baseball ever since losing Jays coverage to Sportsnet years ago. These days, he only seems to write about the Jays if the Toronto Star feels the need to knock them down a few notches, and much of their work gets infused with the same vitriol as the fair-weather fans that are making Mike Wilner lose all his hair. Over the last few months I’ve read a few Cathal Kelly articles on the Jays that I didn’t see as much better than fodder for those fans, but that IS just one man’s opinion. If he is a reputable Jays writer, or was, then all the power to him, but why not try a different spin, a more positive spin; this team has a lot of positives but the media isn’t overly enthused about discussing them.

          This isn’t a hockey vs baseball argument, but the hockey media in Canada, and especially in Toronto, acts in a very hysterical, black-or-white way. Case in point – the Leafs won 4 straight and they were talking about nothing was wrong and the team was great and their top players were amazing, etc. Then, they lose 2 straight, Kessel doesn’t score for a couple of games, and the sky is falling and the coach should be fired and the whole team should be traded. Baseball doesn’t need to have the same capacity for panic, I think, but the sports media here uses panic as a bedrock. My point is that when the talking heads who focus their energies on hockey 90% of the time decide to branch out and talk about other sports, they often come off as fish out of water. I don’t think that’s necessarily an unfair argument to make.

      • Here we go again. There’s that need again. I guess you need to swear off hockey to reach the true mantel of baseball fandom. Can’t keep the mistress in the closet.

        • I think Kelly is actually a soccer writer who also does light fare. It’s a shame if he’s trying to do serious writing on baseball.

          • Not sure the criticism of that passage is justified. Kelly is right. More fans than ever are starting to second guess/criticize/become skeptical about Alex.

            Surely we all see that, don’t we?

  9. The reason why people care aabout 2.7 million is for the future and shows us who Rasmus really is, MLBTR projected him to earn 2.3 million so in a terrible year Rasmus and his agent should have met below that figure. Even in a down year on , a new team he still thinks he’s worht more then he’s projected, that’s the problem is Rasmus if he breaks out and hits free agency he will not be taking a 5 year contract which is our club policy.
    He’s all about the money just like the rest of them, inbred redneck.

    • Oh Richard, so naive.

    • In his defense, I would be the same way….and I consider myself a nice dude. Business is business. It’s like taking less dough at work to help out the Company. Screw the company, you have to take the best deal to take care of your family.

      • If you want to remain in the company and continue moving up you take the number they give you, I didnt get high up in my insurance firm trying to take every penny from them, does Rasmus not realize his employer has payroll parameters.
        Then again I dont have 29 firms trying to get my services, oh wait neither does Rasmus.

        • Um, Rasmus just took exactly how much his team was willing to pay him. What’s the problem? At least gather a basic understanding of MLB salaries and the arbitration process before you start calling people names, please.

          • I know just as much about mlb salaries and arbitration then you buddy, I have to meet with them every year.
            You work for the score and blog about baseball, how that makes you more knowledgeable then any one, I have no idea.

          • You know this how, do you work for the blue jays, I didnt know they were hiring.
            At least I presented my poor argument as an opinion, you however present everything you say as fact.
            Get over your self guy.

          • It’s the end result of a negotiation. If Rasmus was being “greedy” in this instance, he would have held out for more and gone to arbitration.

          • Incorrect spelling = ‘aloud’
            Correct spelling = ‘allowed’

            Verdict: Richard is an absolute moron.

        • You act as though Rasmus was intractable and refused to meet the Jays halfway. This was an agreement before arbitration, where – if your GREEDY RASMUS line of thinking held – Colby would have gone if he really thought he was worth that much more than the Jays. You’re off-base and taking the MLBTR estimation as gospel. Simmer down.

          • You need to simmer down, I dont really care how much he makes, it was just to have an opinion which you tried to tell me wasnt aloud.

        • I stopped giving your talk creedence when you started comparing MLB to your line of work … and when you used your in place of you’re…

          You watching the game tonight?

          • You feel no need to use commas, what is your point.

          • I guess you dont no that certain real working people have to meet in front of an arbitrator.
            Keep flipping burgers, I bet your real good at it.

          • Hahaha. He’s insulting other people’s syntax now. Awesome! I think we’ve caught ourselves a genuine troll!

          • I agree with Beau on this one, jerk move to throw hockey fans under the bus when most of us Jays fans are also die hard Leaf fans.

          • Oh, Dustin guy your so funny, get over your self guy.

          • Yeah, I definitely wouldn’t buy insurance from someone who couldn’t get out of third grade grammar school.

            Maybe we can talk Greedy Rasmus into some Troll Huntin’?

  10. Yah, are the same people who wished that Rogers played hardball with Rasmus to try to save $150,000 the same that claim that Rogers is a huge billion dollar company that can afford to sign a bunch of free agents willy nilly?

    • try to claim they”re a billion dollar corporation, they are, and that is fact.

    • Insulting someone for not using commas, are you, Richard?

      You should probably go back and edit your previous comment. I’m sure the spelling you were looking for was “allowed,” instead of “aloud.”

      Great job.

  11. Hey RICHARD! I’m the troll in the GB posts. (And the Score Buzz)

    Parkes is right. Rasmus made $273K last year, I believe. He’s not as greedy as you think. I’m glad someone pointed it out.

  12. Wouldn’t Rasmus potential be factored into his perceived value if he was a FA? Dustin’s comments on where this amount comes from makes sense then to me then, that even after a very poor year, GMs would given the opportunity sign this kid. Guess this is why we have arbitration years eh?

  13. I think that 2.7 mil is a fair price to pay a kid that you are pegging as a potential building block for a contender. Now give Prince 2 years 40 mil and actually contend.

  14. hahaha…Richard, you’re an idiot.
    “You need to simmer down, I dont really care how much he makes, it was just to have an opinion which you tried to tell me wasnt aloud.”

    Allowed, not aloud.
    And if you’re going to criticize someone for not using commas, you should probably learn how to use commas. Most of your comments above are poorly written, brah.
    Anyways, Rasmus at 2.7 is fair.

  15. Sidney Crosby Update:
    He woke up this morning, and had breakfast. Sources say, it was bacon and eggs. No word to as how the eggs were done. Experts believe, this may or may not affect his return to skating drills. According to sources, this is called 50/50 chances.
    By virtue of hockey being mentioned in the comments, TSN employees are required to update the status of Sidney Crosby.

  16. I think its almost always healthy for a GM to avoid arbitration. The premise of it requires you to do what you can to sandbag your own player, diminish their talent and. undermine their performance

  17. I thought about writing about this when it broke on Sunday evening, but decided the Colon signing was MUCH more interesting. My reaction to it, like all “avoiding arbitration” deals was, “meh, nothing to see here.”

    We knew he was playing for the Jays next year and we knew (within half a million or so) how much money he was going to be making. This is non-news. People bitch about it, just like Dustin says, because they do not understand the process.

    Maybe a “Getting Blanked Guide to Arbitration Process” is needed.

    • + 1 Read from me!

    • Arbitration process isnt hard to understand even for morons.
      The Jays want Rasmus happy, so the last thing they want to do is bring him in front of an arbitrator and start insulting him.
      Hey Richard would you rather he gets Angel Pagans 4.8 million, because that’s what the Giants just paid to avoid arbitration.

      • As a class-A moron, a refresher wouldn’t hurt, especially if it’s written with a heady mix of sarcasm and irony. Need anything to get through to Spring Training…

      • I will admit, some of the subtleties are tricky though. For instance, an arbiter has zero baseball acumen as a rule. They’re going entirely on precedent and comparisons to similar players and not on future performance predictions based on scouting reports. That factors in to how much teams end up paying the players.

        For the uninitiated or for people who just don’t like fusing legalese into their love of baseball it can be offputting.

    • I’d read that. Always helps to learn more about the game you love.

      I think the biggest thing to take away from this (if there IS anything to take away from something that is simply due process), is that taking someone like Rasmus to arbitration may have been far more damaging than simply paying out an extra $200-$400k for the year. AA would have to make the case that Rasmus doesn’t deserve more because of a shitty year in which they were able to trade spare parts for him. I think Rasmus will be just fine, but I don’t think his confidence would have taken much of a boost if they had to go that route. By paying him this amount, they avoided what could have been an ugly arbitration scenario, and Rasmus gets the opportunity to prove himself to be worth a lot more down the road. Really, it’s win-win.

      I was also considering the fact that AA was on the Fan and spoke about rushing him back from injury too soon, but I doubt he would have said that if they hadn’t already had this deal pretty well done. If they did have to head into arbitration, I’d assume it wouldn’t be prudent to say such things.

  18. I’m confused by comments here and elsewhere. Are people upset because Colby is being paid too much or too little? Why are people upset at all? Aren’t these standard numbers every baseball player in Colby’s scenario gets? Toronto sports fans make my head hurt.

  19. Rasmus gets $1.9-M: Jays are cheap!
    Rasmus gets $2.7-M: Rasmus is greedy!
    Rasmus gets $2.3-M: Why are the Jays basing their valuation of players off of what a third-party sight tells them?

    I disagree, Dustin, this acts as a good filter. If someone feels the need to bash a team or player because they avoided arbitration and agreed to terms that differ from third-party projections by less than the league minimum, it gives you a pretty good idea that you’re looking at someone who just likes complaining. It’s a red flag to give that person’s other opinions on the team the worth of a grain of salt.

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