This week, we learned that Dellin Betances will be paid $3M instead of $5M. While he is likely sad about the difference in pay, he is most frustrated by the fact his team spent an hour and a half insulting him. This is what happens at every single arbitration hearing.
As Spring Training begins each year, teams report the results of arbitration hearings. Most of the time, teams are able to avoid these hearings by coming to an agreement with the player. These hearings are not pleasant, and most players and teams wish to avoid them. If you run the Rays or the Athletics, it helps to have an Assistant GM that can deliver victories in arbitration hearings. With that said, victories are sometimes quite costly. For those of you that are uninformed concerning the arbitration process, allow me to briefly review how this works.
Obviously, much of this is exaggeration or a complete lie. I am a liar. Still, these hearings are often avoided for good reason: players get bashed by their bosses. The team's purpose in these hearings is to argue that the player is not worth their proposed salary, so they spend an hour explaining why the player is not that great at playing baseball. Teams that win arbitration cases can often lose out in the long run by negatively effecting their relationship with a star player.
The Yankees have one of the greatest relievers in baseball, and his name is Dellin Betances. They obviously believe that their bullpen is important, because they just handed $86,000,000 to Aroldis Chapman for five years of closing games. I do not believe they should spend all that money on bullpen pieces. But if they do value this bullpen, they should acknowledge that signing Chapman could be an insult to their OTHER star reliever. And if they do insult Betances, they should never allow this player to get to a hearing.
Yes, this could partly be the result of an overzealous agent and a player that trusted him. The Yankees may have worked hard to meet Betances halfway, and were denied by Betances throughout. We likely will never know. What we do know is that Betances never had a chance at winning this hearing, and that the hearing was always going to have a negative impact on the team's relationship with Betances. These hearings are usually quite disheartening to the player, but rarely create huge rifts between player and team. We will have to wait and see whether this conflict has a long term impact on the reliever's relationship with the Yankees. For the time being, management should probably stop blaming agents and move on.
After all, they won. Sort of.
Spanning an entire continent, lifelong fans Chris Kubak and Tom Baird take you on a magical, sabermetrically enhanced journey through Major League Baseball.