The Houston Astros have won their arbitration case against starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez. Instead of the $7 million Rodriguez had requested, he'll be paid the $5 million the club offered. The $2 million gap was the largest of the nine players who have had hearings or are awaiting hearings. Rodriguez earned $2.6 million in 2009. His 2010 salary represents a 92.3% raise over 2009. Houston remains unbeaten since 1996 in the arbitration process and improved their record in cases to 57 percent by going 8-6 since 1974.
Rodriguez had a career year in 2009, which Maury and I dissected below last night, on the way to pronouncing the Astros the favorite to win the case. Rodriguez' phenomenal stretch of seven starts between that start of July and early August helped him to career bests in almost every pitching category. But removing that run left him resembling his 2007 and 2008 seasons.
The major consequence for Rodriguez will be the set baseline for arbitration next offseason in his final year of eligibility. Had he won the case, his $7 million salary would provide the opportunity to request a significantly higher salary for 2011 with a reasonable expectation of success. With his baseline set at $5 million, he and his agent Barry Praver will necessarily adjust their expectations lower.
The Astros victory tips the tally to the owner's favor 3-2. Rodriguez joins Brian Bruney and B.J. Upton who also lost their cases. Corey Hart and Cody Ross were both victorious over the owners in their hearings. More information can be found at the Arbitration Scorecard. There are four cases still pending. Ryan Theriot, Sean Burnett, Jeff Mathis and Eric Aybar will face hearings with their teams unless they settle at the last moment.
The victory increases the clubs overall edge to 283-209 since 1974 - a 57.5 percent success rate.
For additional analysis on the case, see: Inside the Numbers: Who Wins the Wandy Rodriguez Salary Arbtration Case?
Joe Tetreault is a member of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey.
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