The Yankees have come to contract agreements with all the players on their 40-man roster. Phil Hughes agreed to $406,350, Melky Cabrera to $461,200, etc.
For players under three years of service time, there is no wiggle room. Their agents can request something, but the team is free to award any salary over the minimum of $390,000. Most teams have a scale based on service time.
If a player doesn’t fall into place and refuses to sign, his contract is simply renewed.
That was the case with Joba Chamberlain. The Yankees renewed him at the minimum of $390,000. He received not one penny of credit for what he did last season.
For most of us, $390,000 is serious bank. But it illustrates the fact that baseball is a business.
Fans complain all the time when players become free agents and hold out for the best deal they can get. But when the teams have the leverage, they use it.
The Yankees will probably sell $390,000 worth of those “Joba Rules” t-shirts this year. It wouldn’t have killed them to kick the kid another $10,000. But as was their right, they didn’t.
That’s why Jorge Posada held out for the fourth year. And why Mariano Rivera waited until he got the bump he wanted.
I’m not asking you to weep for Joba, he’ll be just fine. But when a team doesn’t give a player like that 10 cents worth of recognition, it shows just how bottom line baseball is sometimes.