Huntington on Gerrit Cole: “We Made a Mistake in the Process”

BRADENTON, Fl. – Neal Huntington addressed the media today regarding Gerrit Cole’s comments on his salary last night, and was surprisingly open about the subject, rather than declining to comment on any negotiations, as has been his practice in the past. He also admitted the club made a mistake.

“We made a mistake in the process,” Huntington said. “Gerrit’s base salary a year ago, plus his bonus, took him above our scale. We initially did not incorporate the bonus that he earned last year for making the All-Star team. We made that adjustment, took him above our scale. Gerrit agreed, unhappy with that. We understand that. We can empathize with him. At the same time, there is a system in place that is negotiated by the union and by Major League Baseball.”

One of Cole’s complaints was that he was receiving less salary than he had in 2015 with the original offer of $538,000. Last year he received a base salary of $531,000, along with a $10,000 bonus for making the All-Star Game. So the Pirates corrected that by giving him the total amount he made last year — $541,000 — while also giving him the same performance bonus package, including the potential for another $10,000 bonus if he makes this year’s All-Star Game.

The move makes Cole the highest paid Pirates pre-arb player in history. He also has the highest amount this group has paid over the league minimum for a pitcher, with his salary being $33,500 over the minimum.

Huntington explained that the Pirates have a system in place to determine how much pre-arb players will receive. Technically, the Pirates could pay everyone the league minimum each year, with no raises throughout the process. There are some teams which take this approach. The Pirates incorporate a player’s performance, service time, and playing time in their system.

“We choose to go above [the league minimum],” Huntington said. “It’s our choice to go above that. One of the other things that we work to do is put a system and a structure in place that is consistent throughout the organization. In some organizations, it’s based solely on service time. Every zero-plus is treated exactly the same. Every one-plus is treated exactly the same. In our system, we want to compensate players in some balance of performance, service time, and playing time. In our system, Gerrit scales out very well. He was going to be compensated at the top of our two-plus class.”

The question that is raised here, and which was raised by Scott Boras when the issue first came up last night, was that other teams would have paid Cole more. The Pirates do have a scale, but it’s smaller than other scales, and it’s fair to question whether they should be spending more.

Boras brought up the Mets and the Marlins when he said that Cole would have been paid more in other organizations. It’s not a coincidence he brought these two teams up. The Marlins paid Jose Fernandez $635,000 in his second pre-arb year, after his first big season. The Mets paid Matt Harvey $614,125 in his third pre-arb year, after two big seasons. Both players also happen to be represented by Boras, just like Cole.

The other side of this is that a lot of teams pay less than the Pirates and their scale. The Astros, for example, paid Dallas Keuchel $524,500 last year, following a season where he put up a 3.8 fWAR. I also can’t find any of their current players who have received more than the $524,000 to $526,000 range in pre-arb deals. The Rays keep almost everyone close to the league minimum, and their biggest pre-arb cases are just over $520,000.

So while the Pirates’ scale is lower than some teams, it’s also higher than some teams. And considering they’re never a team that pays the most money for MLB talent, it’s not a surprise to see them in the middle of the pack here, closer to the bottom.

“It’s always easy to grab one side of the argument and run with it, especially when that side of the argument is made very public,” Huntington said. “We believe that we want to treat our players consistently across the board, and given the fact that we take in more than just pure service time, and not every two-plus player is treated the same as every other two-plus player, we do think we do that to an extent.”

But what about making an exception for someone like Cole? Technically, the Pirates did make an exception by making him their highest paid pre-arb player. That said, it’s still low when you look at what some of the highest paid pre-arb guys receive.

“Once you make an exception, how do you draw the line at what the next exception is?” Huntington asked. “If you say it’s only for MVPs, well what if somebody wins the Cy Young? Or what if someone finishes second in the Cy Young? Or what if someone finishes fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting? Where do you draw the line with the exception? In our system, we believe that it is appropriate. We believe that it is consistent across the board. We believe it’s the right thing to do in our system.”

The problem you have with this situation is that once you get in the habit of basing player salaries off what other players with similar service time and performance make, then you’re essentially creating a smaller version of arbitration. That goes against what the Collective Bargaining Agreement has established for zero to three players, and starts driving up the prices for those players. The Player’s Union agreed to a league minimum and giving unilateral control to teams during these years because they got concessions elsewhere. And asking teams to start paying more would be similar to asking players to reduce the amount of Super Two eligible players, or the amount for a qualifying offer in a given year.

This is a situation that might need to be addressed in the upcoming Collective Bargaining Agreement following the 2016 season. I wrote about that in more detail last night, and you should check out the article here.

As for Cole, Huntington doesn’t believe this situation will impact his feelings in the future.

“We’re always sensitive to that,” Huntington said. “Our reality is, he’s an intelligent man. He’s a passionate man. He’s a driven man. We’re ready to move forward. My belief is he’s probably ready to move forward. He said what he had to say. We respect his ability to say what he has to say. Not sure his gripe is completely with us. We made a mistake in the process. We understand that, we’ve owned that, we’ve acknowledged that, we’ve more forward from that. We broke our scale because of that. We’ll evolve. We’ll continue to move forward. Our hope is that Gerrit is ready to move forward, put this behind him, and recognize the better year he has, the better year we have, it’s good for all of us.”

  • A salary is one thing and a bonus is another. They increased his salary from last year by 7K up to 538K from 531K, originally but increased it to 541K based off salary and bonus. If he makes the all star team again, I’d imagine he’d make another bonus of at least 10K, allowing him to earn 551K or 10K above 2015.

    I don’t know what other business bases a salary increase off salary + bonus from the previous year. The bonus is the carrot to make more than your salary. I’m sure some are out there, but this isn’t the norm in the business world and I realize things are different in sports industry

  • Shut up and pitch. You got you cash up front. Bickering about what amounts to a .50 cent raise in our world. You want a raise, sign an extension. Look at reality, a healthy Matt Harvey and Jose Fernandez are better than you. End of mini rant.

  • When he reaches big $ and his performance declines, will he say I’m not worth that much and give back what he is overpaid?

  • $8,000,000 singing bonus, he’s been compensated more than fairly!

    • HartHighPirate
      February 29, 2016 1:15 am

      Glasnow signed for $600,000 bonus the same year 2011 when Cole signed for his bonus.

      Glasnow is screwed by Super Two giving Nutting and Huntington 7 years total freedom from Boros and the Players Association. Pre-Arb is bull sh#t.

      The problem is MLB owners set and control the rules that screw minor league players, many of whom never make it to the majors leaving because of personal hardships and injuries.

      That said I don’t fault Cole, Boros for complaining to correct a wrong while Nutting and Huntington stuff their own pockets.

      • I’d imagine they’d have to wear cargo pants to stuff that extra few thousand they planned on screwing Cole over? Suit pant pockets aren’t big enough.

        Poor Cole will just have to wear sweats. He won’t have any room to put that 150 million plus contract that he’ll end up signing elsewhere.

  • My opinion only: Scott Boras helped poison the well for Pedro Alvarez in Pittsburgh, and he may well do the same for Gerrit Cole. OK, the players bear some responsibility. The PBC has to deal with the financial constraints of a small market team. Unless and until that situation changes, we have to deal with it regardless of whether it makes us unhappy.

    • The PBC has to deal with the financial constraints of a small market team. Unless and until that situation changes, we have to deal with it regardless of whether it makes us unhappy.

      If it were not for the CBA creating two low salary periods — pre-arb and arb years — low revenue teams like the Pirates would be unable to compete for anything. So, it’s less a matter that Boras uses annoying tactics, it’s that he pursues goals that would ruin MLB in cities like Pittsburgh.

  • Huntington’s response strikes me as a bit disingenuous…like many of the organization’s responses on finances. “Golly gee, we made a $10K mistake and we immediately corrected it so all is well. Gerrit is a passionate guy and I believe he is ready to move forward. We have achieved peace in our time.”
    Wow…they broke their scale with the $10K raise for Gerrit Cole.
    What kind of raise did Frank and Neal get this year form Bob? Does anybody believe it was 1.8% like Gerrit Cole’s?

    • $8,000,000 signing bonus. That’s EIGHT MILLION US DOLLARS, now both you and Gerrit have nothing to complain about.

      • HartHighPirate
        February 29, 2016 1:09 am

        Glasnow signed for $600,000 bonus the same year 2011 when Cole signed for his bonus.

        Glasnow is screwed by Super Two giving Nutting and Huntington 7 years total freedom from Boros and the Players Association. Pre-Arb is bull sh#t.

        The problem is MLB owners set and control the rules that screw minor league players, many of whom never make it to the majors leaving because of personal hardships and injuries.

        That said I don’t fault Cole, Boros for complaining to correct a wrong while Nutting and Huntington stuff their own pockets.

        • Huntington is an employee like everyone else. What’s important about that is that he has a contract, and no matter his performance, he’s paid what his contract dictates. Surprisingly, exactly like Cole.

          • There is no fixed compensation in Cole’s contract at this point….there is a mechanism and some flexibility, including the ability of the Bucs to say take it or leave it. A threat they made, according to Cole. Do you know the details of Huntington’s contract, and his raise this year?

        • Screw the minor league players? It’s such a bad deal that they have to turn away people for these jobs every year.

          Poor guys get to play a game 6-8 months/year while the vast majority of their peers are either working a real job or going to school.

          Nobody’s putting a gun to their head and making them sign a contract to play baseball. They’re pursuing a dream and most of them are only too happy to get paid the paltry sum they are to chase it.

    • Frank and Neal are not subject to the CBA.
      Who cares what raises they got? Would you rather have Littlefield running the ship?

      • Are the Pirates are so constrained by their small market status that they cannot spare minimal merit increases for an All-Star($40-50K), permitted by the CBA and awarded by other organizations? If things are so tight for them despite record attendance and revenue then share detailed financial information with the public, who funded PNC park, and let’s see the merit compensation for Frank and Neal. No I don’t want Littlefield back…or Daniel Moskos on the mound.

        • I never said anything about “small” market status, so I’m not sure.

          You also mentioned in another post that they didn’t have to give him a raise, permitted by the CBA. They did in fact, give him a raise, albeit a slight one.

          Privately owned companies are not required to share their financials to the public. Why should the Pirates break precedent? Personally I don’t care how much they make.

          I guess I don’t understand why you’re concerned about FC’s and NH’s compensation.

          • It is my belief that the public statements of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization regarding payroll issues and the club’s financial condition are less than forthright. Too cute, too nuanced….under careful analysis often misleading.
            As to Frank and Neal’s compensation my point is this………..if Cole does not get a merit increase after an All-Star season and the team payroll ranks 23rd in the league, is management compensation similarly constrained?

            • Not that I agree with their tactic, but I don’t expect them to admit they’re making a nice profit, nor are they obligated to.

              I don’t begrudge the organization making as much as they can. I also don’t begrudge Cole for getting as much as he can now and in the future.

              The Pirates fulfilled their contractual financial obligation towards Cole. I’m sure FC and NH were awarded an increase for their efforts as well.

              For the record, I can see your side of the argument. I just believe this should’ve stayed internally.

  • I love the sport of baseball and I love mlb baseball because it has all the elite talent from all around the globe. But I’m really getting tired of the money aspect of pro sports. Bickering over money and how much they should be paid. This is the fans money they are fighting for. If it wasn’t for the fans spending there hard earned money then there wouldn’t be much to bicker about. I think the fans should demand lower salaries and lower ticket and merchandise sakes. Let the fans be heard for once!!!!

    • never happen…..We can’t even get money out of politics, how are we going to tell business men what to do? Stop going to the parks. I hate Walmart for their treatment to their employees, but still shop their. Can’t afford any thing else. If you stop watch,buying or going to games, who does that hurt?

      • How does Walmart mistreat their employees?

        • They pay their employees minimum wage, that makes them go to the government to help them exist. Walmart gets corporate welfare. If you living in a bubble, step outside and look it up.

          • Lots of businesses, small , medium and large, pay their employees minimum wage. Minimum wage wasn’t meant to support a family.

            I don’t agree with corporate welfare. That being said, how many jobs would be lost, if companies that get corporate welfare, no longer existed. Would those who get minimum wage be better off unemployed?

            • And how big would our economy be if everyone had a livable wage. Worked pretty well after WWII didn’t it.
              Please do be a favor….exclude me from the posts and I will do the same.

              • Chuck, with all due respect, this isn’t the 1950’s. Our country’s dynamics have changed dramatically. I’m all for people having more money in their pockets. There’s forces that work against individual liberty and the American Dream.

                BTW, Did you pay your entry level workers a “living wage” as owner of 3 GNC franchises? GNC is a decent size corporation. Not a Walmart, but far from a mom and pop .

                My point is that you’re railing against Walmart, but it’s not the Walmart’s that are completely at fault. My guess is that GNC stores and home office still pay their entry level employees a non livable wage.

      • Ask the Expos who it hurts.

  • Truth be told there is no way in Hades Cole signs with us once his contract expires. The fact he went public over this truly bothers me and I will never get over it. Class act Cutch says he wants to be a pirate his whole career and never tries to make it about the money. Players that play for the of the game are rare. Thank you Andrew.

  • I like Huntington’s candid comment. Let’s move on please. We have to win the division.

    • Huntington is in damage control mode right now. The McCutchen extension/the Cole story both bring into question the “cheap” perception that the Pirate’s have been labeled by the majority of fans (regardless if those here believe it). Perception often feeds off of itself until that perception can be changed. These two stories do little to belie this, and when also using the Pirate’s off season “dis-interest” in spending money is like adding gasoline to the fire. Even a major media outlet like MLBRumors made a snide comment with the following statement regarding the union monitoring revenue sharing “The Pirates were once on the player union’s radar for not spending shared funds, but their recent on-field success probably has them in the clear – for now.”

      Personally, I for one suffer from this perception, and no one here including Lee or NMR will convince me otherwise, especially with story lines as we are seeing now.

      And now I have to figure out why the hell the spell checker isn’t working here..Arrrg.

      • People always seem to latch on to the one thing that doesn’t have anything to do with their “Nutting is cheap” argument.

        Honestly, if any organization had extra money, why would we give it to a player that they already have control over. They would spend it on a free agent or someone who they have a chance retaining (i.e. not Cole). And spare me the it would make Cole happy argument. He knows if he were a free agent he would have made over $15 mil thus year. $600,000 wouldn’t make him happy.

        If Cole wants more money now, he can discuss an extension or even a 4-year deal that locks in his money.

        • I don’t have to spare you any arguement. The fact is that the perception is out there. The Pirate’s haven’t really shown anything to counter that perception. These stories build up that perception.

          You are in the minority of those who percieve that all is well with the Pirate’s planning. The majority believe that Nutting wants profits first and winning second. Its his right to do so as the owner of the team, and a business. Yet, there is also the saying that proves true more often then not in business, and that is “tripping over dollars to save pennies”.

          • LJS: I doubt the majority of Pirate Fans believe that Bob Nutting wants profits first and winning second. He has owned the club for 9 seasons and invested wisely by hiring a very high priced group of experienced baseball executives to build a winning franchise from the ground up.

            In his first 5 years (all losing seasons), the estimated value of the Pirates went from $292 mil up to only $336 mil. From 2012 to Apr 2015, a period where the Pirates started winning and getting to the playoffs, the team value shot from $336 mil to $900 mil. All of these numbers are courtesy of Forbes Magazine, who do an annual MLB Estimated Value edition in April of each year.

            That’s a 268% increase in the Estimated Value of the Pirates since they started winning. Attendance has skyrocketed, and the Pirates still have one of the deepest farm systems in MLB, and they have spent wisely on infrastructure improvements at Pirate City, McKechnie Field, and the Academy in the Dominican Republic.

            Nutting has proven to be a very intelligent businessman who realizes that real profits cannot come without winning and that any successful venture has to also reinvest a share of profits back into the product. There was a time when the Pirates made a profit by losing and qualifying for larger sums of revenue sharing that was not reinvested in trying to build a winning team – those days are long gone.

            • Stop it with all of this logic 🙂

              • It never ends, but there were some really bad owners of the Pirates and some really good owners of the Bucs. I still remember when John Galbreath was the owner who fans thought did not care enough to win. During his 40 years the Pirates won three WS Championships and could have been more if it had not been for the Big Red Machine during the 70’s. What were his problems as perceived by the fans? He was an outsider who lived in Columbus, Ohio, who cared more about race horses and Ohio State Football than the Pittsburgh Pirates. And, worst of all, he was not Art Rooney.

            • Sports franchises worldwide have skyrocketed in value. The success of the Pirates has been well documented. The point here is that Cole was threatened with a take it or leave it $10K raise ….and if he didn’t take it the club would impose a $30K salary reduction. That is not a very “intelligent” business practice.

              • I also doubt it’s that intelligent for Cole to start a PUBLIC fight over what amounts to about three grand.

                • If the Pirates are admitting they screwed up then how did Cole start this fight. Ever wonder why so many valuable front office and staff people have bolted over the winter? Add the candid comments from Walker about being taken to arbitration every year and you have a picture of an organization that talks one way and behaves another.

                  • Cole went public with it. The Pirates admitted the error and corrected it. It should have stayed private.

                    Most professional people change jobs for career and income advancement. The success of the Pirates may have made those who left, more attractive to prospective employers, than front office personnel on losing or mediocre ball clubs.

                    There’s always two sides to the story.

                  • The Pirates may have learned there lesson about taking their players to arbitration. I believe the agreed to all their players before arbitration this year. Players don’t like to be bad mouthed and that is what arbitration does.

                    • At what point does the rank and file and union leaders bear any responsibility for what they agreed too?

                    • don’t understand you question?? Both sides agree to the players agreement, that’s why they call it an agreement. Baseball is under the Curt Flood ruling, maybe your to young to know. Curt Flood, started “free agency.” I would rather have what the NFL has, contract are only as good as your performance, you don’t perform you get cut. If a baseball player signs a 5 year contract, you almost have to pay him, even when he’s in jail. Management must be making a lot of money. They line up to pay these contract with all the Monopoly money they have.

                    • Chuck, I understand you’re no fan of people making a lot of money. That’s fine, but not everyone should be making 15-20/hr. at Walmart.

                      Talented people deserve to be paid more than less talented or lazy people. Cole received an 8 million dollar signing bonus which was reflective of his perceived talent. He also signed a contract that would pay him slightly above league minimum for the first 3 years. I don’t begrudge Cole and Nutting from making as much as they want.

                      The point of my post was that the players union agreed to the arbitration process and the bad mouthing that comes with the territory. They also agreed to what Cole would be paid in his first 3 years.

                    • You are aware that Cole hasn’t hit arbitration yet

                    • Yes, i was not talking about Cole, but about Arbitration. And, as you read further you will see me mentioning the Arbitration cases this year.

              • 268% increase in the last 3 years is common, when the previous 5 years yielded a 13% increase?

          • There’s a large segment of society that is envious of successful business people. Nothing Nutting does will change that perception.

            It’s always easy to spend other people’s money.

            • Baseball used to be America’s pastime, now bitching about other people’s money has taken it’s place.

              I’ll bet we’ll never hear Polanco bitching about making $500k+ this year since he probably grew up sleeping on a dirt floor in a home without indoor plumbing.

            • HA! My goodness, were you being intentionally ironic?

              Nutting’s club plays in a taxpayer-funded stadium and is supplemented with tens of millions of dollars worth of money handed out by other, more successful franchises.

              You seriously cannot be saying any of this with a straight face…

              • Outside of Green Bay, please list 5 other professional teams that play in a 100% privately funded facility.

                By successful, do you mean on or off the field?

                • That has absolutely nothing to do with this conversation.

                  You came in here painting Nutting as this gee shucks, hard working businessman yet he himself has made massive amounts of money based on public subsidies.

                  • You said that Nutting plays in a tax payer funded park, which is true. Outside of Green Bay, how does that differ from any other sports owner, including those successful franchises owners that dole out 10’s of millions.

                    No, you characterized Nutting that way. Is he an “aw shucks ” guy because he’s from WV ? He was a successful business man prior to becoming the owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

                    • “It’s always easy to spend other people’s money.”

                      This was *your* slight, guy. And that is *exactly* what Nutting is doing.

                    • You and your silly semantics arguments. The people who whine about what Nutting doesn’t spend have *most likely* never owned a business.

                      Anyone with an ounce of common sense knew exactly what I meant, of course in the figurative terms.

                      Literally you are correct, and I’m sure that brings you much satisfaction. I guess until a salary cap is put in place, Nutting will continue to run a business out of facility that’s taxpayer funded, like 99.99% of team owners.

                      I’m sure he will also spend 10s of millions of private sector money bestowed upon him by *successful* franchises, within the current framework of what is known as Major League Baseball and its revenue sharing ( private sector monies in which the **successful teams** agreed to pay).

                  • I think you’re confusing Nutting with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Now they’ve made massive amounts of money based on public subsidies.

              • chuck conner
                March 3, 2016 2:46 pm

                NMR, your right, Tim Wynn is a troll. See the conversation I had with him on this post. He took everyone of my posts and completely turned them around and he’s doing the same thing with your’s. Don’t worry NMR, when It comes time to pay, he won’t be a bother.
                I finished reading all of Tim Wynn’s posts. He doesn’t want to talk baseball. He’s only here for free air time to troll about politics.

      • Why does the perception need to be changed? Those who want to believe they’re cheap will always believe it no matter what.

  • 8 million before he ever stepped on a field, Pirates chose him over literally EVERY other player in the draft, and you feel slighted over a little bit of money. Players listen way too much to their agents rather than just play ball. This is all stuff that fans never need to know. Players are not smart by bringing it up and creating “leverage” ever. It just makes you look greedy. He’s already made more money than most people will ever make in a lifetime.

    • I don’t see the relevance in how much money he’s made to this point. Should he just play for free the rest of his career then? Along with how many other players? And where do the billions of dollars MLB makes go to then? Because I can garauntee you that the owners arent going to field teams “for the love of the game” like the ridiculous standard so many players get judged on. You have a talent that makes you worth a certain amount of money, then you should be paid that amount. Previous earnings have nothing to do with your current or future worth.

      • Absolutely agree with your stand Matey!

      • The problem here is the standard set forth by Cole’s Union. They agreed to this, and this is how the current process works. I think the signing bonus is at least partly relevant, when you think about the leverage Cole had at that point in time. Right now Cole has no leverage. Also, he’s not going to intentionally play poorly to impact his future production and money.

        The system does need addressed, especially for the minor leaguers. For the pre-arb players, what would probably be most fair is a league minimum base and lots of incentives. Aside from that, the union just ought to do a better job negotiating for those players.

        • A union is supposed to be for everyone of their members. If your going to get the most for your elite members, the same should apply to your least, and that includes the minor leagues. I know is is very expensive owning and running a major league franchise, but the rewards are also great. Here’s where the owners could buy some cheap publicity. Goodwill. It’s almost like the “Power Ball,” all the money goes to the top winner, and crumbs are given to the ones that missed by one number.

          • I’m not sure that minor leaguers are covered under the MLB CBA, so that may not be relevant. I believe that the rest of the non elites in MLB get what their Union reps bargained for.

            I’m not sure how it’s the Powerball because it’s the players and union leadership that agreed to what’s in the current CBA.

            • The minor league is not cover, and yes the union does the bargaining for every MLB player. My Powerball analogy is just that, with all the money pool, the highest amount goes to the few at the top. Don’t get me wrong (as you have been doing,) there is no one on a 40 man roster that relies on food stamps.

              • Chuck, I have you pegged correctly. You don’t like those who have wealth.That’s ok. Lots of people don’t . I don’t think it’s particularly healthy or productive, but that’s just my opinion.

                The money goes to the top because that’s what’s agreed upon by the players union.

                See Chuck, the players union agreed to these things, so maybe your beef should be with the players union who appears to favor the top performers and not so much for the mediocre players.

                • Tim, I have no beef at all and don’t like you telling me who i am. I was a business man, owning three General Nutrition Franchises and your telling me i’m against big business and money. Pretty stupid statement. You either don’t have a workable grasps of the English language or a reading problem. I’m just giving the MLB scale and how it works. Where did i say it is wrong.
                  And, I don’t want to start a pissing war with you, not worth and don’t want this site to be about individuals. This site is about baseball and should stay that way.

                  • Well Chuck, ya got me, but you sure fooled the hell out of me. As a former franchise owner, I would’ve thought that you could understand budgets, cost analysis, contracts, etc;.

                    You’re complaining about how the players union is stiffing their not so talent players when it comes to the pool of money. Maybe we need to spread the wealth from the talented types like Cole and give a huge pay raise to the Jeff Locke’s of the world.

                    We should also make sure that straight A students spread the wealth and have a letter grade or two taken away from them and give it to the D and C students, just to level the playing field.

      • Well then you must be in favor of shitcanning the guaranteed long-term contracts given to veteran players even if they get injured or turn into the next Evan Longoria.

        I can assure you every MLB Owner would love to pay players on a year-to-year basis based on their individual productivity.
        Good luck getting the MLBPA signing off on that deal.

        • No I’m not. Nobody is forcing owners to give out long term deals. I’m in favor of people being able to negotiate whatever contract the market deems they are worth. Only in sports do you get no say what organization you work for and then have abitrary restrictions placed on your salary. Then get called greedy if you say a word about it. And for a sport with no salary cap it is particularly egregious in my opinion.

          • Scott Kliesen
            March 1, 2016 5:42 am

            The system, or the market as you called it, is set up for Owners to have cost control for young players, and veteran players to have leverage later in their career. It’s designed to create a competitive balance between the teams, something that doesn’t exist in the world outside of sports. Comparing the business of pro sports to the business of any other industry is an apples to oranges comparison.

            For example in no other industry are people signed to fully guaranteed, long-term contracts. I don’t know about the state where you live in, but I live in a state where employers can terminate employment at will. Unless the employee can prove they were wrongfully terminated, they have no recourse. In baseball, if a guy signs a long-term deal for millions of dollars and decides to eat his way out of the league like Mo Vaughn once did, and Panda appears to be doing, than teams are stuck paying the slob.

            • By no means are athletes the only people in this country that work on a contractual basis. I’m studying to be certified in project management right now and lots of the jobs work on a contract, from 6 months to a couple years. If you don’t preform, you will be let go, just like an athlete. The only difference is they can’t tell me that a certain company “drafted” me and I have no choice but to work for them, and they can’t tell me there are arbitrary salary restrictions placed on me at the same time.
              And I don’t care what state you are in if your company fires you for no reason at all, then you should be on the phone with a lawyer asap. That isn’t really legal.
              As to the apples to oranges comparison, that’s my point. Why is sports the only industry where these things are acceptable? I know why it is the way it is, I just don’t agree with it.

    • This reeks of Boras being Boras, with Cole being the victim. Boras cares not what bridges he burns, or which of his clients take a PR hit to make it look as if he’s fighting for every last penny for them.

      You mention how Cole has made more money than most people will make in their lifetime. How about Boras?

      • No doubt about Boras. There are so many times he quasi has his client’s best at mind and the rest of it is ego. To me it doesn’t always have to be about money 100% but there are plenty of players (and guys on this site) that think that’s all it’s about. That is fine…but it’s really just not reality. If you want all you can get Boras is your guy. He does that as good as anyone. My mind is blown that Zack Greinke doesn’t have Boras as an agent. Their greed combined might be lethal to both of them though.

  • One day, 33.5k will buy you 1 strikeout from Gerrit Cole. Per strike.

  • So should Cole have a right to be mad for making a little over a half a million? I don’t think so, because the players union negotiated the terms in this manner. In the long run, and for how much money he’ll make in his career, I don’t think an extra 100K will make that much of a difference. (Sits back and awaits for someone to prove me wrong)

    • The more this story unfolds, the more i think Cole was less outright “pissed”, and the more he was smart enough to simply make this a story to increase his leverage and try to make the most money.

      He’s smart enough to know he wasnt gonna make 200k more, and even 50k more seems far more about setting himself up for higher arb paydays than him feeling personally slighted by the team.

      • I guess, but to go public with it seems petty given that he’s sitting on $8M in signing bonus money (a record), which is where the CBA lets you pay young players (at least in 2011). I love Cole as a player, but this kind of rubs me the wrong way given how player friendly the CBA already is. It’s probably just Boras in his ear though. Which is ironic, since Boras is likely a big reason why the current CBA is constructed the way it is.

        • I can understand how some see it as petty, but its also just a basic tactic for anyone trying to max out their money.

          It just feels like he and Boras arent really that mad, but simply doing what will make him the most possible right now. He’s gonna make plenty in arb and bolt for a massive payday in FA, and he really just is pressuring PGH to pay whatever he can get during his “cheap” years.

          Seems like Boras being Boras and Cole being smart in terms of maximizing his career earnings. That sucks as a fan, but its valid for him.

          • Good point. No one should be upset at the Buc’s for doing what they did if this indeed was a ploy by team Cole/Boras.

          • Yeh, it certainly is within his rights to maximize his earnings, and I do respect that. I guess, to me, not all attempts to maximize earnings are created equal though. I think stepping out of the company line for millions is one thing, and doing so for 10’s of thousands is another. I just think it does more harm than good at that point. If there is precedent that shows that his relative pay to other 0+ guys will lead to millions more in arb, then ok. Otherwise, if I’m him, I rather not roll the dice on damaging the relationship with my employer or jeopardizing my fans’ perception of me (right or wrong) for $10-50k when I did receive a record signing bonus.

            To be clear, I’m presenting that side of the argument here, but I also feel that the club is being petty as well and “miscalculating” this year’s base salary is inexcusable.

    • Yes, the contract negotiated sets a minimum salary for 0-3 players, it does not set a maximum. Cole finished 4th in Cy Young voting last season, and by any account was one of the 10 best pitchers in the NL. So by that rudimentary piss poor argument, he should have been due a better raise than $10K, or $33.5K, whatever he got. I am in no way saying he should have been given a contract making him one of the 10 highest paid pitchers in the NL, but the Pirates are paying his personal catcher twice what they are paying him, and he plays just as often as Cole, and carries far less value.
      Now, if I were the team, I would pay each and every 0-3 player as little as I felt comfortable paying them. because after year 3, you hit arbitration, once that happens, every $1 given to them in their first three years has a cumulative effect on their next 3 years. $10K in year 2 for Cole very well could be the determining factor as to if we get him in a Pirates uniform for 4+ years or 5+ years.

  • Good move by Huntington to honestly address the situation. The process in regards to the new CBA and handling players like Cole, and Bryant’s situation last year will be interesting.

    Or it will stay the exact same for 0-3 players.

    • Considering how the union negotiates away the earning power for 0-3 guys in favor of more earnings for the top guys, I’m guessing the 0-3 situation won’t change.

      • I agree, but in reality, what is the fix? The problem they would run into if they were to try to change it, is what do they give up in order to get more money for the 0-3 guys? Do you give the owners a 7th year of control? IMO, no fricking way, that would guarantee that any player in any situation would only be able to get get one huge contract. There is just no easy way for the PA to get more money for the 0-3 guys. If I were Tony Clark, my argument would begin and end with the fact that overall player earnings have not gone up at the same rate as MLB’s total earnings. If you re-adjust the percentages back closer to a 50/50 split, then even if only 1/4 of that new money could go to, not only the 0-3 guys, but also the minor leaguers.
        But again, it is going to fall back to the owners, are they willing to take less of a profit, in order to give guys that either 1) Don’t have a realistic shot at making the major leagues, or 2) may never make it past the 0-3 range as a bench player, a significant raise? That would be hard for anyone to justify.