Arbitration Season — A Rite of Spring in the Bizarro World

by M.C. Antil on February 10, 2011

Those of you who, like myself, sit in wide-eyed, slack-jawed wonder every year around this time as the arbitration calendar plays itself out, take heart; all’s right again in our bizarre little corner of the universe.  

Just when we thought we’d truly seen it all and had become immune to the absurdity of so many rulings, year after year, in which ordinary and often horrible baseball players get their annual compensation packages increased by dollar amounts most people won’t see in a decade, along comes Russ Ohlendorf of the Pittsburgh Pirates. 

Based on his stellar mound work  in 2010, Ohlendorf figured he was due a hefty increase on the paltry $439,000 he pulled down last year.  So he asked the Pirates to more than quadruple what they had been paying him. 

No way, no how, said the Bucs.  We’re not going to quadruple your salary. But we’ll tell you what we will do.  We’ll triple it.   How’s that?

Nope, can’t do it, said Ohlendorf.

Ugh.  Gridlock.  What now?

Enter MLB’s three-man binding arbitration panel, which on Tuesday morning heard the case — its first of the season. 

Their ruling?  Sorry Pirates; Ohlendorf’s numbers support his claim.  You must pay him $2.025 million to pitch for you in 2011 — four times what you paid him last year. 

Thanks for coming, and have a nice day.

And just in case you at home were wondering; in 21 starts in 2010, Russ Ohlendorf threw a total of 108 innings for the last place Pirates.  And over the course of those 108 innings, he walked 44, struck out 79, and won one game. 

Yep. That’s right.  One. 

And again, for those of you scoring at home; that’s one, as in one more than none, but only half as many as two.

Ohlendorf’s record last year?  1-11.

Like I said, it’s arbitration season and once again sports fans, all’s right here in the Bizarro World.

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