So, Corey Hart won his arbitration hearing, as we learned this morning. The big question now — how?
While the arbitration system is set up to compensate the player after years of being paid below value, a lot of people seemed to think the team was going to come out of the hearing on top. Brewers execs seemed confident, if you want to read into their comments that everything went “as expected.” Hell, even Corey Hart told his wife he thought he lost the case.
So what gives?
There were a few comparable players who sought — and got — big money earlier this offseason when they avoided arbitration. Namely, Jeff Francoeur managed to con the Mets out of $5 million. Francoeur is a career .271/.311/.432 hitter (compared to Hart’s career .273/.326/.470 line), but the Mets thought it was a good idea to fork over that much cash after he managed to post an OPS of .836 in 289 AB’s.
Way to freaking go, Omar Minaya. Now not only do Mets fans hate you, but now Brewers fans do, too.
The Brewers had a strong case as far as Hart’s regression goes, but the arbitration panels are swayed by player comps, and the Brewers simply couldn’t compete. I imagine “Yeah, but Minaya’s a loon” isn’t an accepted response in a formal hearing.
In the long run, does this mean much? Probably not. The two sides were ultimately fighting over less than $1 million. Thankfully, there appears to be no hard feelings between Hart and the team. Between Hart and the fans, though? I guess we’ll find out the first time he goes 0-for-4 with a couple strikeouts.