February 4, 2013

Freese arbitration? A cautionary tale

Compare David Freese's 2012 performance to teammate Matt Holliday's and you have a strong argument that the St. Louis Cardinals organization should pay the Cards' third baseman the $3.75 million he's asking, rather than go to arbitration with a player who has contributed about as much offense to the team as his aforementioned teammate.

To be clear, this is no knock on Holliday, who seems have earned his bigtime payday last season.

These few stats are mainly for a potential status quo argument that Freese ought to be getting the meager (by pro baseball standards) pay raise for which he's asking.

The Cardinals have offered Freese  $2.4 million.

Here's the 2012 side by side:

  • Games played: Freese 144, Holliday 157
  • At bats: Freese 567, Holliday 688
  • Hits: Freese 147, Holliday 177
  • Runs Scored: Freese 70, Holliday 95
  • Home Runs: Freese 20, Holliday 27

Freese is not far off the pace in these common but defining statistics.

When it comes to 2012 salary, however, here's the side by side:

  • 2012 Salary: Freese $508,000, Holliday $17,000,000

If you divide Holliday's homers by .75, you're approximately at Freese touch-four output for 2012. But you have to divide Holliday's 2012 salary by a whopping 34 to get close to what Freese made. Yikes!

Even if the Cards paid Freese the nearly $4 million he's asking, it's hard to justify paying someone else--anyone else--nearly $13 million more for just seven more home runs. Unless, of course, they come in World Series action. Oh, wait a minute, Freese owns most those historic yard launches.

By now this sounds more and more like a Holliday-bashing, but no, this is more of a cautionary tale to the Cards paymasters, before Freese ends up on a NL Central Division rival.

And just to make the argument perfectly clear, when Holliday homered in 2012, it cost the Cards (and eventually the post-2012 fans) nearly $200,000. And when you hear the radio call, "Get up, get get, get up!" on one of Freese's blasts, there's a minor charge of about $25,000.

Feedback for or against are welcome in the throes of Hot Stove.

photo credit: Keith Allison via photopin cc