Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ohlie Starts 2011 With A Win

Ross Ohlendorf won his arbitration case today and will earn $2.025M in 2011, with three arb seasons remaining.

Yah, a lot for one win in 2010, but the thing that pitchers have the least control over is their victory total. His ERA and WAR made him worth the salary he got in the judges' eyes.

He could get expensive if he puts together a couple of injury free seasons and stays around the 4.00 ERA level. But the Pirates did, at least to us, low-ball him. It's a situation the FO is going to have to learn to cope with. When guys perform, they'll have to be paid.

(Paul Swydan of Fangraphs lays out some comparisons and the likely arguments presented to the panel and why he thinks Ohlie won.)


WilliamJPellas said...

Mmmm....I dunno 'bout this one.

On the one hand, Ohlendorf has probably had the most legitimately good performances by a Pirates starting pitcher over the past two seasons. In fact, he's probably had the most legitimately good starts during the entire tenure of the current regime. Particularly in 2009, he's had stretches where he was very good for several weeks at a time.

On the other hand, in addition to his sometimes consistent pitching, there's been his sometimes consistently injured back. A pitcher with a wonky back is a bad bet going forward if his salary is going to be climbing consistently higher every year pretty much regardless of how he performs on the field (isn't the utterly corrupt and greedy cartel that is the MLBPA great?).

I could see approaching him for, say, a two years plus an option year deal during or immediately after the 2011 season if he shows he is....well, as healthy as he's likely to get. But that would be the maximum I would do for Ohlendorf, and even then I'd only offer a deal like that if he can make 30 starts in 2011 and if he shows he is as effective as he was in 2009, if not more so.

Ohlendorf's "Super Two" status is very unfortunate because with this penniless organization, he will be that much more of a tempting trade chip. Not that there would be anything wrong with dealing him before he got too expensive under normal conditions, but the "rotation" this team has at the major league level is SO gawdawful that I'm loath to part with Ohlendorf for at least another couple of seasons. Some creative dealmaking could make his time here more palatable for both sides, but I see no indication the current front office is inclined to make the kinds of offers it will take to keep players like Ohlendorf here. Or McCutchen. Or Tabata.

Ron Ieraci said...

Will, the Bucs low-balled him a bit; they might have had a chance with the panel if they had made a more midpoint offer like $1.7M or so.

They do run the risk of his salary escalating in arb during the upcoming years, but that will depend on his performance, and they shouldn't have a problem with that.

The FO prides themselves on knowing value to the penny, but I think they squeezed it a little too hard in this case.