Baseball season is not far away now. My hopes for the spring are never far behind when arbitration hearings are announced and discussed. But do some players ever miss reality when they start seeking higher salaries or what? Don’t get me wrong—the game brings in a lot of money and the players should get what they contribute to the sport. I do not begrudge them their salaries, even though they are often very large. This is entertainment and entertainers make a lot of money when they are at the top. Face it, without the players there is no major league baseball. (I know, some of you are saying, “So what” John. But indulge me here since I confess a lifetime of love for this great American game.) But some of these guys are truly beyond belief when you see the salaries they request via arbitration. Two such cases came to mind today as I read over the baseball news.
First, there is Chicago Cubs pitcher Mark Prior, limited to nine starts last season because of injuries, who was offered a cut from $3.65 million to $3.4 million by the team. Prior asked for $3,875,000. Prior has proven next to nothing in his short career and has almost always been impacted by nagging injuries. Then there was Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Jody Gerut, who is even further removed from reality than Mark Prior. Gerut missed most of the last two seasons with knee injuries. He was offered a cut from $875,000 to $800,000. That’s not bad for not playing much at all. But Gerut, undoubtedly misled by his agent, seeks arbitration and thus is asking for $925,000. No wonder the fans feel some players just don’t get it. These guys ought to go out and prove their worth before they ask for such pay raises. Nowhere else do you not perform at all and then ask for a raise. Frankly, both of these guys should be embarrased to publicly state their case for such a raise.