The Chicago Cubs “won” their arbitration case with Ryan Theriot, who will now make $2.6 million for the 2010 MLB schedule. Sure $2.6 million is a lot of cash, but this is a travesty in my humble opinion. As we argued before, GM Jim Hendry finds it so easy to shell out tons of money to over-rated, under-producing players like Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley, and then has the nerve to fight over $800,000 with hard-working, reliable, productive players like Ryan Theriot. The Cubs are going to rely on Theriot to play the all-important shortstop position and to bat lead-off in 2010. This wasn’t a negotiation for a long-term deal either – it was 1 baseball season. For the Cubs to push Theriot so hard on his contract demands for 2010 (he sought $3.4 million is his 1st year of being arbitration-eligible) should leave a bad taste in his mouth.
Hendry defended his position: “We’ve always paid players what’s fair. I think those of you who know us know we would’ve never been in Tampa unless I thought we’d reached the highest level of fairness… I’m not mad at Ryan for wanting to go to arbitration. He has every right to put himself on the other side of the philosophical midpoint… He’s being compensated what I thought was a fair number to begin with. He’ll be fine.”
Baseball teams won 5 out of 8 cases heard this year, so it looks like Theriot got stuck with the wrong year to have to plead his case. Hendry has settled 36 arbitration cases in a row during his tenure as Cubs GM.
I sure hope this doesn’t affect Theriot’s play during the upcoming season. The Cubs need Theriot to play at the highest level right from the get-go, so hopefully he can clear his mind in Mesa during Spring Training and be ready to tackle the big leagues at Wrigley Field come April…