In McTaggart's newest article addressing arbitration, we find that the Astros knew this would be an expensive year for Wandy, Bourn, and Pence. Of course, any one of us could have given them the Cliff's Notes.
"The reality is some of our young guys are beginning to move into the stage of their careers where they're becoming more established, and as a result arbitration becomes a mechanism that you have to address. We're happy with the composition of the club, we're happy with the fact we've got good, young players like Wandy and Hunter Pence and Bourn and the other guys that fall into our category...
...We have a fairly specific budget to work with, and we tried to use it as effectively as we could. Arbitration is a very significant vehicle for a player to realize a dramatic salary increase, but the reality is it's been in place a really long time and you budget for it and you recognize it's an important part of the process."
And if Wandy has another big year, the "front-burner" issue will be how much to pay him in years that he could be naturally declining:
"We hope they continue to perform at a level where we're talking about multiple-year contracts and buying out free-agent eligibility and things of that nature. We're close to that point with Wandy. If Wandy goes out and has another big season in 2010, that's a front-burner discussion for us. In the case of Michael and Hunter, that's further off on the horizon, particularly in Hunter's case. Our goal is to draft, sign and develop and/or acquire good, young talent and be in position to give them opportunities to succeed and to pay them."
As much as Wandy wants the multi-year deal, I like the idea (as with Bourn and Pence) of making sure that their success is more than a one-year fluke before offering them $10m+.