The Angels “won” their arbitration case with Jered Weaver today. The Angels Ace and 2010 Strike Out Leader was seeking $8.8 million and the Angels offered $7.365 million. Call me crazy, but this doesn’t really seem like winning to me. The Angels want to keep Weaver in Anaheim – I know I want the Angels to keep Weaver in Anaheim! They began initial long term contract negotiations with him earlier this month. I didn’t really expect a long term contract to materialize this offseason. I know. I know. How could Weaver and the Angels ignore my “it’s almost my birthday” argument? Oh well, as compelling as that argument was, Weaver does have one more arbitration eligible year before he is eligible for free agency at the end of the 2012 season. I imagine making a deal now seemed too soon from Weaver’s perspective for him to be able to command the salary he is going to want from his next long term contract.
However, you would think, especially after there was so much conflict and ego bruising surrounding Weaver’s initial contract signing, that the Angels would want to throw him a bone now, if for no other reason than to earn goodwill this early on in the proceedings. Seriously, what’s $1.435 million to a Major League Baseball team? Especially this offseason and after the 2010 season Weaver had? Especially when the Angels got off comparatively easy with several of the other players’ contracts? I don’t think it was too much to ask at all.
I’m not really upset about this, more disappointed than anything. And, I’m not saying that “winning” this arbitration case chips anything in stone with Weaver other than the amount of this season’s contract. I just think there’s a time when taking a hard line is an advantage and a time when it might actually be detrimental and this has the potential to be the latter. I loved Lyle Spencer’s article on the arbitration case outcome. He doesn’t come out and say he thinks the Angels acted unwisely – it is a news piece after all. But the article states the outcome and then goes on to sing Weaver’s praises for the next 10 column inches or so. Well played.
Admittedly, I’ve only started paying attention to the details of contracts, arbitration and such in the last few years. I hated this side of the game as a kid when, typically, I didn’t want business and money to cloud my pure enjoyment of the game. I grudgingly accepted this side of the game as an adult when I started paying attention to baseball again and became really interested as the fervor of my fandom increased and I started working in finance, go figure. I guess what I’m saying is that I’m interested in the financial aspects of team decisions but would not yet claim to be knowledgeable. So if I’m looking at this the wrong way, please let me know. In this case I’d actually find it comforting :).