- Crashburn Alley - http://crashburnalley.com -

Antonio Bastardo and Arbitration

Posted By Bill Baer On January 19, 2013 @ 8:05 am In MLB,Philadelphia Phillies | 8 Comments

Antonio Bastardo finished the 2012 season with a 4.33 ERA, a far cry from the 2.64 figure with which he ended 2011. Nevertheless, Bastardo and the Phillies avoided arbitration yesterday, agreeing on a one-year, $1.4 million contract in the lefty’s first year of eligibility. The $1.4 million salary is nearly triple what he earned last season, which seems to have become a topic of controversy. I made the mistake of checking Twitter and Facebook for reactions, so now I must explain why there’s nothing controversial about the Bastardo news.

The bulk of the arbitration process was explained extremely well by Maury Brown (@BizballMauryat FanGraphs a couple years ago. Some key points:

The [arbitration] process is based largely on three factors:

  • Major League Service Time;
  • Comparable statistics with like players by position, and;
  • Comparable salaries with like players by position;
[...]

A player of between 3 and 6 years of service time (the CBA defines one full year as a total of 172 days of Major League credited service) becomes automatically eligible for salary arbitration.

When we look at comparable players for Bastardo, we are specifically looking at arbitration-eligible non-closer relief pitchers with between three and four years of service time. Among those who did not have injury-plagued seasons in 2012, there were ten other non-closer relievers along with Bastardo:

Name Team SV IP ERA 2013 Salary
Wilton Lopez Astros 10 66.1 2.17 $1,760,000
Bobby Parnell Mets 7 68.2 2.49 $1,700,000
Jonny Venters Braves 0 58.2 3.22 $1,625,000
Mitchell Boggs Cardinals 0 73.1 2.21 $1,475,000
Antonio Bastardo Phillies 1 52.0 4.33 $1,400,000
Tony Sipp Indians 1 55.0 4.42 $1,275,000
Jerry Blevins Athletics 1 65.1 2.48 $1,100,000
James Russell Cubs 2 69.1 3.25 $1,075,000
Wesley Wright Astros 1 52.1 3.27 $1,025,000
Ryan Webb Marlins 0 60.1 4.03 $975,000
Josh Kinney Mariners 1 32.0 3.94 $700,000

As you can see, Bastardo’s salary ranks fifth among the 11 comparable relievers. We can even go back to last season to see how Bastardo’s comps fared (note that SV, IP, and ERA are from 2011):

Name Team SV IP ERA 2012 Salary
Jim Johnson Orioles 9 91.0 2.67 $2,625,000
Jason Motte Cardinals 9 68.0 2.25 $1,950,000
Brad Ziegler Athletics 1 58.1 2.16 $1,795,000
David Robertson Yankees 1 66.2 1.08 $1,600,000
Sergio Romo Giants 1 48.0 1.50 $1,575,000
Luke Gregerson Padres 0 55.2 2.75 $1,550,000
Alfredo Aceves Red Sox 2 93.0 2.03 $1,200,000
Phil Coke Tigers 1 34.0 3.71 $1,100,000
Burke Badenhop Marlins 1 63.2 4.10 $1,075,000
Manny Acosta Mets 4 47.0 3.45 $875,000
Chris Resop Pirates 1 69.2 4.39 $850,000
Franklin Morales Rockies 0 46.1 3.69 $850,000

Bastardo’s $1.4 million would have been the seventh-highest among the 12 other comparable relievers. Matt Swartz projected Bastardo to earn $1.1 million, but the extra $300,000 isn’t surprising nor is it controversial. If the Phillies felt that there was no appropriate salary for Bastardo, they would have non-tendered him, but that option is usually reserved for players whose performance is far below what their salary would dictate — Luke Hochevar of the Kansas City Royals, for example, recently avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $4.56 million contract despite a career 5.39 ERA, including 5.73 in 2012. It was expected that the Royals would non-tender him, but they didn’t for unforeseen reasons (a.k.a. the Royals being the Royals). The Phillies previously non-tendered Nate Schierholtz, for a more local example.

Bastardo was never going to be non-tendered — not when he was among the most potent relievers last year:

Player SO/9 IP Age Tm
Craig Kimbrel 16.66 62.2 24 ATL
Aroldis Chapman 15.32 71.2 24 CIN
Antonio Bastardo 14.02 52.0 26 PHI
Jason Grilli 13.81 58.2 35 PIT
Kenley Jansen 13.71 65.0 24 LAD
Ernesto Frieri 13.36 66.0 26 TOT
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/19/2013.

The Phillies handled Bastardo’s arbitration-eligibility correctly, and they should consider themselves very fortunate that a pitcher of his caliber — one that could very easily set up or close for a number of teams, including their own — will be used as a middle reliever in the upcoming season at a relatively cheap price.


Article printed from Crashburn Alley: http://crashburnalley.com

URL to article: http://crashburnalley.com/2013/01/19/antonio-bastardo-and-arbitration/

Copyright © 2009 crashburnalley.com. All rights reserved.