Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tal Smith Enterprises is doing about as well as the Houston Astros

The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo's Sunday column has some information about the tendency of teams to settle with players, rather than going to an arbitration hearing. Why does this matter for us? Because Tal Smith Enterprises isn't faring so well with this evolution in the business of baseball.

Teams are 49-25 in arbitrations against players since 1999, a sign that Smith had the upper hand. It’s a wonder why more teams don’t save themselves money by taking their case to a hearing. In 2008, only three cases went to hearings. The last double-digit hearing load came in 2001, with 14.

"There are probably a number of reasons. Nobody likes to lose. And we’ve seen instances over the years where a player has fired an agent for losing in arbitration. The teams don’t like what they perceive as a contentious relationship with the player if they should beat him, but it’s been my experience - and I’ve done more than 150 cases - that it doesn’t have to be that way. I remember I beat Barry Bonds twice and Barry, every time I saw him, was certainly not happy about the result but didn’t hold it against me...

...I think the cases now are far more complicated and elaborate than they used to be. There are more statistics, more graphs, and there’s more to the presentation than way back when. I think at one point Scott Boras said he spent $150,000 to put a case together. Way back, the agents would come in and have a legal pad and just read off their notes. Back then, there also wasn’t as much at stake."

Well, of course. Stuff is harder. Scott Boras is evil. That makes sense.