New York Mets: Pace Law

Salary projection: Daniel Murphy

November, 14, 2013
11/14/13
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Thearon W. Henderson/Getty ImagesDaniel Murphy's 2014 salary should exceed $5 million.



Dan Masi and Jared Hand, representing Pace Law School in White Plains, won the sixth-annual Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition in January in New Orleans. This week, along with new additions to the Pace Law arbitration team Pete Naber and Jesse Kantor, they offer their salary predictions for the Mets’ high-profile arbitration-eligible players: Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy.

The Pace Law arbitration team is using the same methods agents and team officials employ.

On the fourth and final day, here is this detailed report from the Pace team on Murphy …

Second baseman Daniel Murphy is arbitration-eligible for the second time. Coming off of his best statistical season to date, he stands to earn a significant raise from the $2.925 million he earned in 2013.

Playing from a defensive position not characteristically expected to provide much offense, Murphy contributed meaningfully in every major offensive area this past season. He provided power with 13 homers and 55 extra-base hits. He excelled in run production, scoring 92 times and adding 78 RBIs. He exhibited plus speed and base-running ability by stealing 23 bases and getting caught only five times. And he consistently hit, batting a robust .286 with a .733 OPS.

While Murphy proved offensively sound, his defense at second base left much to be desired. That deficiency will certainly be a focus in determining his 2014 salary, too.

THE CASE FOR DANIEL MURPHY

Murphy’s representatives likely will present him as an offensive weapon who performed at an elite level in 2013 while playing a premium defensive position. The statistics support that proposition and demand a top-level salary for the second-time eligible infielder. Most convincingly, they will note Murphy consistently ranked in the upper echelon of MLB second basemen.

Additionally, Murphy’s representatives will argue he proved clutch in crucial game situations. With runners in scoring position, Murphy batted to a .305 average and .787 OPS, knocking in 60 runners and consistently prolonging the inning by accumulating a .340 OBP. They will highlight that in even more pressured scenarios, with two-outs and runners in scoring position, Murphy batted .354 and knocked in 30 runners. With offensive production at second base being historically lower compared with other positions, Murphy proves even more valuable.

Murphy’s group also will focus on his role on the Mets in 2013, and argue that while the club lost 88 games, they likely would have struggled even more without Murphy in the lineup.

Murphy proved durable and reliable, playing in all but one game. With star David Wright falling prey to injury, the surprisingly productive Marlon Byrd being traded in August, and Ike Davis significantly underperforming, Murphy led the team in nearly every major statistical category. He ranked first on the team in at-bats, runs, hits, doubles, RBIs and OBP as well as second in average and stolen bases, Murphy’s value to the Mets could not be overstated.

In support of their argument for an elite-level salary, Murphy’s representatives likely will compare Murphy to other second-time eligible sluggers who similarly earned elite salaries at that point. Murphy’s representatives likely will compare the standout second baseman to star outfielder Adam Jones, who earned $6.25 million in 2012.

The players prove almost statistically identical, and Murphy will therefore seek a salary comparable to Jones’. While Jones had hit 36 more career homers than Murphy through the platform season -- and that stat certainly will count against Murphy -- the Met smacked 15 more extra-base hits and approached Jones in slugging percentage. Murphy also stole only two fewer bases. And he missed Jones’ RBI total by only 19 while batting out of the No. 2 position in the lineup -- a position not known for run production. Murphy scored only 23 fewer times despite playing on an offensively deficient team.

The comparison proves especially true when considering Murphy had 39 more hits and 53 more doubles, while also outperforming Jones in average, OBP and OPS. The conclusion becomes that because Jones and Murphy have produced similar career-to-date totals, they should receive similar total salaries at the same point in their respective careers.

Along those same lines, Murphy’s representatives will look to compare the second baseman to outfielder Delmon Young, who earned $5.375 million in 2011, after his second year of arbitration.

Once again the players prove comparable. Murphy matched or outperformed Young in nearly every major statistical category -- runs, doubles, triples, extra-base hits, steals, average, OBP, slugging and OPS. Murphy’s reps will look to distinguish the two players based on their respective positions, and suggest that since Murphy produced similar career production from a premium position, he should receive a higher salary than Young’s.

Noting Jones’ Gold Glove award and All-Star selection that distinguish him from Murphy, Murphy’s agents likely will seek a salary between Jones and Young's, in the $5.8 million range.

THE CASE FOR THE METS

While the Mets will acknowledge and respect Murphy’s offensive contributions, they likely will argue that any positives from his offensive output were negated by his porous defense. Of all qualified second basemen, Murphy finished second-worst in all of MLB with a defensive WAR of -1.5, only in front of Dan Uggla. Murphy ranked third-to-last among second basemen with a .976 fielding percentage and second-to-last in both errors (16) and defensive runs saved. He had an embarrassing total of -13 runs saved. Accordingly, it is safe to conclude that while Murphy was a key offensive contributor, he was one of MLB’s worst defensive second basemen and potentially a liability on the field.

The Mets also will attack Murphy’s offensive success by pointing out his struggles against left-handed pitchers as well as at Citi Field. Murphy was a different player in those scenarios, and not the offensive juggernaut his agents likely will present him as.

Against left-handed pitching, Murphy batted just .273 with a mediocre .292 OBP. Of his 13 home runs, only one came against a left-handed pitcher. He drew only six walks and had 48 strikeouts when facing southpaws.

When playing in front of the Mets faithful, Murphy also struggled, batting just .263 with a .298 OBP.

Despite these deficiencies, Murphy remains a solid contributor, and the Mets will be glad to reward him with a salary that is commensurate with his production, but at a level lower than his agents are seeking.

On a raise analysis that focuses exclusively on platform-season production, the Mets likely will look to compare Murphy to outfielder B.J. Upton, who received a $1.85 million during the 2010-11 offseason.

Based on the premise the two players produced similar platform seasons (entering their second year of arbitration-eligibility), the Mets will argue Murphy is deserving of a raise similar to Upton’s.

While Murphy batted to a much higher average, Upton hit for more power, scored only three fewer times, knocked in a comparable number of RBIs and stole 19 more bases. That Upton produced a higher OBP, slugging percentage and OPS likely will negate Murphy’s higher average.

With Murphy having previously earned $2.925 million in 2013, the Mets will attempt to argue Murphy should only receive the same raise as Upton received, thereby limiting Murphy’s 2014 salary to $4.775 million.

Also in support of this conclusion, the Mets will compare Murphy’s total performance to that of James Loney. In 2011, Loney earned $4.875 million after his second year of arbitration eligibility.

In almost precisely the same number of plate appearances, Loney smacked 16 more homers and had 81 more RBIs than Murphy while batting to roughly the same average. Scoring only 20 fewer runs than Murphy, Loney also produced a higher OBP, slugging percentage and OPS. Although Murphy does steal more than Loney and has been more successful hitting doubles while playing a more difficult defensive position, the Mets likely will argue Murphy should receive a salary around Loney’s level.

PREDICTED RESULT

With Murphy looking for roughly $5.8 million and the Mets seeking to limit his salary to roughly $4.8 million, the teams appear far apart. As this case likely produces a predicted midpoint of $5.3 million, one more comparison proves important: shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, who earned a $2.525 million raise. If that were given to Murphy, it would net him a 2014 salary of $5.45 million, just around the midpoint.

Both Murphy and Cabrera produced their best seasons in their platform year and so a platform-season-to-platform-season comparison proves appropriate.

While Cabrera exploded for 25 homers compared with Murphy’s 13, the two players remain comparable in the other categories, with Murphy getting more hits, scoring more runs, stealing more bases and hitting at a higher average. The conclusion becomes that Murphy should earn a raise that is just slightly under Cabrera’s.

Such a raise would net him a salary in the $5.3 million range, which returns us to the comparison between Murphy and Delmon Young ($5.375 million total salary).

It is crucial that Young earned his salary also on the back of an outstanding platform season, one that bested Murphy’s. While Young and Murphy’s career totals proved similar earlier, Young definitively bests Murphy in platform-season production. Accordingly, it would likely be inappropriate for Murphy to receive a salary higher than Young’s. Coupled with the similarities between Murphy, Loney and Upton as suggested by the Mets, Murphy is even more likely to receive a salary lower than Young and lower than the predicted midpoint. A raise somewhere between Cabrera’s $2.525 million and Upton’s $1.85 million therefore proves most appropriate.

With the midpoint of those raises roughly $2.2 million, we predict that Murphy will receive $5.1 million in 2014.

Salary projection: Ike Davis

November, 13, 2013
11/13/13
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Julie Jacobson/Associated PressIke Davis should get a raise despite spending part of 2013 in Triple-A.



Dan Masi and Jared Hand, representing Pace Law School in White Plains, won the sixth-annual Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition in January in New Orleans. This week, along with new additions to the Pace Law arbitration team Pete Naber and Jesse Kantor, they offer their salary predictions for the Mets’ high-profile arbitration-eligible players: Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy.

The Pace Law arbitration team is using the same methods agents and team officials employ.

On Day 3, here is this detailed report from the Pace team on Davis …

The enigma that is Ike Davis turned in another confusing season in 2013, including a midseason trip to Triple-A Las Vegas.

In July and August, Davis showed encouraging improvement before an oblique strain shut him down for the remainder of the season.

Historically, despite an astoundingly high strikeout rate of 26.8 percent, Davis excels in power (67 career homers) and an ability to get on base (.326 OBP despite a .205 average). Sadly, after a breakout 32-homer, injury-free campaign in 2012, he enters his second year of arbitration eligibility on a sour note.

Not only are injury concerns overshadowing his performance, but more importantly there are questions as to his ability and effectiveness. His unpredictability in the batter’s box proves disconcerting for both Davis and the Mets. Any fan can attest that Davis appeared lost at the plate in 2013.

For a player with demonstrated high homer potential, Davis is expected to avoid becoming a non-tender, but he should only see a nominal salary increase. Who will be paying his 2014 salary is another matter, considering a fairly decent chance he gets traded.

THE CASE FOR IKE DAVIS

Davis will argue he is a power hitter with high upside, as evidenced by his incredible second-half surges the past two seasons. While he may have regressed during the 2013 season, he remains a quality first baseman. When he is “on fire,” he is among the best in the league. During the final 100 games of 2012, only Miguel Cabrera and Ryan Braun hit more homers. In August of 2013, Davis’ .990 OPS ranked fifth among all first basemen.
Davis will point to comparable players such as Shin-Soo Choo ($925,000 raise during 2011-12 offseason), Ryan Roberts ($938,000 raise last offseason) and Luke Scott ($4.05 million salary for 2010) in order to set his 2014 salary.

Choo compares ideally. He earned a $925,000 raise after a disappointing season in which injuries and slumps saw his average drop by 41 points and his homer production decrease by 14. In a similar amount of at bats, Davis matched or outperformed Choo in runs scored, doubles, and homers, while approaching Choo in RBIs and OBP.
Similarly, Roberts compares favorably in that as a part-time player he showed power (12 homers) while struggling in average.

If Davis receives a raise similar to Choo and Roberts’, he will approach Luke Scott’s salary. Although Scott clearly outperformed Davis in his platform year, Davis can argue he is receiving a significantly smaller raise than Scott and that career numbers justify the overall salary. I predict in this scenario that Davis will attempt to reach a $4 million salary.

THE CASE FOR THE METS

Citing Davis’ horrendous 2013 season, the Mets will argue Davis is an unpredictable, inconsistent hitter who is prone to suffer from incredible slumps and therefore is undeserving of a large increase in salary. The Mets will not want to pay substantially for a player who could be spending time in the minors every year, and who, when in the majors, strikes out often and rarely makes meaningful contact.
After 2012, despite a low average, Davis was able to secure a $3.125 million salary on the back of his 32-homer season. In 2013, despite showing improvement during the second half of the season in on-base percentage, Davis’ overall power has disappeared. His homer output decreased by 72 percent in 2013 and his average dropped 22 points, to just above the Mendoza line.

For a player in a power position, nine homers and 33 RBIs simply do not merit a large salary. The Mets will note that among the 31 first basemen who received 350-plus plate appearances in 2013, Davis ranked last in total hits, last in average, 30th in OPS, last in homers and 30th in RBIs. To prove Davis struggled mightily in 2013 is not difficult.

Yet Davis still will earn a raise, despite his dreadful performance. To determine his 2014 salary, the Mets will point to comparable players such as Seth Smith (2012-13 offseason: $3.675 million), David Murphy (2011-12: $3.65 million) and Andres Torres (2011-12: $500,000 raise).

These players are similar in that they are either corner fielders, played a similar amount of games or have a similar injury history.

Using Smith and Murphy, the Mets can argue both players matched or outperformed Davis in their respective platform years (seasons entering second arbitration year) in average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, homers and RBIs. Over their careers, they approached Davis in homers (65 and 58, respectively vs. Davis’ 67) and surpassed Davis in RBIs, average, OBP and slugging percentage.

Accordingly, the Mets will stress that Davis should not be compensated more than either player.

Based exclusively on platform-season performance, the Mets will use Torres to limit Davis’ raise. While Torres did not have the same power as Davis (four homers vs. Davis’ nine), he had a similarly disappointing, injury-prone platform season and, like Davis, held only a platoon role. In their respective platform seasons, Torres and Davis posted strikingly similar averages, slugging, OBP, OPS and strikeout totals. The conclusion follows that since Torres only received a $500,000 raise based on his poor performance, Davis should earn a similarly limited raise.

Taking into account Murphy and Smith’s total salaries in the $3.6 million range and then applying Torres’ $500,000 raise to Davis’ 2013 salary of $3.125 million, we predict the Mets will offer Davis a salary at $3.65 million for 2014.

PREDICTED RESULT

Considering a midpoint between the Mets’ likely offer and Davis’ goal of $3.85 million, Davis’ true value hovers slightly below that midpoint. To argue he is worthy of a $4.0 million salary when his average and power dropped tremendously after 2012 proves difficult. A lower batting average can be overlooked when a player is putting the ball over the fence. However, with significant questions remaining about Davis’ power, and with Lucas Duda challenging his spot on the depth chart, Davis will be penalized in arbitration.

Davis’ noted struggles during the platform year, including a demotion to Triple-A, will earn him a raise of $700,000 (above Torres’ raise and slightly below both Choo and Roberts’ raises) and lift his 2014 salary to $3.825 million.

Salary projection: Bobby Parnell

November, 12, 2013
11/12/13
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Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesBobby Parnell's 2013 season is complicated. He had great success as closer, but missed the final two months with a herniated disk that required surgery.



Dan Masi and Jared Hand, representing Pace Law School in White Plains, won the sixth-annual Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition in January in New Orleans. This week, along with new additions to the Pace Law arbitration team Pete Naber and Jesse Kantor, they offer their salary predictions for the Mets’ high-profile arbitration-eligible players: Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy.

The Pace Law arbitration team is using the same methods agents and team officials employ.

On Day 2, here is this detailed report from the Pace team on Parnell …

Closer Bobby Parnell earns his second year of arbitration eligibility after an impressive, yet injury-shortened inaugural season as a full-time closer in 2013.

Parnell recorded 22 saves in 26 opportunities, tossed 50 innings and dominated opposing hitters by holding them to a .211 batting average against. He flashed brilliance, pitching to a 2.16 ERA and 1.00 WHIP while striking out 44 batters against only 12 walks.

These are the key statistics for closers who, when dominant, become rare commodities because of their ability to be “stoppers” in pressured situations.

While Parnell suffered a serious season-ending neck injury in July that eventually required surgery, he still will earn a significant raise from his $1.7 million salary in 2013. Yet, this figure certainly will incorporate questions about his availability for the upcoming season and potential effectiveness.

THE CASE FOR BOBBY PARNELL

To argue for an elite level salary, Parnell’s representatives will focus on his consistent season-by-season statistical improvement that culminated in his highly successful 2013 platform season. They will not have a difficult time proving Parnell has developed into one of MLB’s most elite stoppers. At the time that Parnell’s season ended on July 31, he ranked 16th in saves among all MLB closers and sixth among NL closers. To combat Parnell’s lower saves total, Parnell’s representatives will note he just did not receive many opportunities. The Mets only gave Parnell 26 save chances through July. The team had the ninth-fewest save opportunities in the majors for the full 2013 season.

Parnell also will argue he was one of the most dominant closers, and therefore should be compensated handsomely. He delivered an 84.6 save conversion percentage. He was one of only 10 closers with 20-plus saves, an ERA below 2.50, WHIP below 1.20, and batting average against below .250. Additionally, among the 28 closers with 20-plus saves in 2013, Parnell ranked eighth best in ERA, 15th in BAA, and eighth in WHIP.

With those supporting statistics, Parnell’s agents will attempt to negotiate for an elite-level salary of $4 million that compares closely with other dominant second-time arbitration-eligible closers. Parnell compares favorably with two pitchers who similarly served as their teams’ full-time closers for the first time in their platform seasons (the year entering their second arbitration-eligibility-influenced salary): ex-Met Heath Bell and ex-Yankee Tyler Clippard.

After serving as Padres set-up man, Bell earned $1.28 million with his first salary influenced by arbitration eligibility. Bell then assumed the closer role in 2009 and subsequently earned $4.0 million after his second year of arbitration (a raise of $2.72 million).

Similarly, after serving as Nationals set-up man and fill-in closer, Clippard earned $1.65 million with his first salary influenced by arbitration. Clippard followed that season by serving as the full-time closer in 2012. He then was rewarded with a $4.0 million salary (a raise of $2.35 million).

With Parnell similarly having served as a set-up man and fill-in closer in 2012 and then earning $1.7 million as the result of his first year of arbitration eligibility, logic follows that he should be compensated with a similar total salary and raise after his second year of arbitration eligibility. That is, assuming his platform season stats as a full-time closer prove similar to Bell and Clippard’s.

All three pitchers were comparatively successful in their platform seasons as full-time closers. While Parnell totaled the fewest saves, his save conversion percentage of 84.6 falls closely in line with Bell’s 87.5 percent and Clippard’s 86.5 percent. Parnell also posted the best ERA and WHIP among the three. Although his platform season was cut short, Parnell never faltered in his role as a closer. On the other hand, just as the Nationals were trying to clinch a playoff berth, Clippard proved ineffective, pitching to an 8.03 ERA and losing three games when his team needed him most.

Both Bell and Clippard prove a pitcher who assumes the pivotal closer role in his platform season and then dominates will earn a significant raise in recognition of that success. As Parnell similarly assumed the closer role for the first time and performed comparatively to both Bell and Clippard, his agents will seek that he should be similarly compensated at $4 million.

THE CASE FOR THE METS

The Mets will argue that because Parnell did not complete the full season he should not be compensated at the same level as premier closers like Bell and Clippard, who recorded 42 and 32 saves respectively in their platform seasons and finished the season without injury. The Mets will focus on the serious season-ending neck injury that Parnell suffered at the end of July.

The injury required surgery to correct a herniated disk and resulted in Parnell losing 30 pounds. Manager Terry Collins’ words -- “As I'm sitting here I'm hoping and praying Bobby Parnell comes back 100 percent. … I'm worried.” -- do not suggest Parnell offers certainty, availability and effectiveness.

As Parnell does not epitomize a reliable closer from a health perspective, the Mets will argue he should not earn an elite salary. The club also will note that among the 28 closers with 20-plus saves in 2013, Parnell ranked only 23rd in WAR at 0.7, thereby suggesting his value to team success is less significant overall.

To limit Parnell’s salary and support their case, the Mets will first cite the total salary of $3.1 million received by reliever C.J. Wilson after the 2009 season.

Wilson tossed 23 2/3 more innings than Parnell and proved valuable to his team as both a fill-in closer and set-up man -- despite recording eight fewer saves than Parnell. Over Parnell and Wilson’s respective careers entering their second arbitration-eligible offseason, Wilson saved 16 more games, blew 10 fewer and posted comparable holds, ERA, WHIP, strikeouts and batting-average-against totals. Moreover, whereas Parnell was lost for the season due to serious injury, Wilson presented no such risk. The Mets therefore likely will seek to limit Parnell’s salary to $3.1 on the premise Parnell did not outperform Wilson.

Yet one comp alone does not prove the Mets’ position. The club also will rely on the $1.375 million raise Red Sox closer Alfredo Aceves received after 2012 and the $1.65 million raise Marlins closer Juan Carlos Oviedo (formerly known as Leo Nunez) received after 2010.

These raises are critical, because if given to Parnell, it would then limit his salary to a maximum of $3.375 million.

The raise theory in arbitration can be significant for any player going through arbitration for a second, third or fourth time. The approach focuses almost exclusively on platform season analysis and posits that if Player A’s platform stats earned him a $2.0 raise on his previous salary, then in order to receive a raise of more than $2.0 million, Player B must outperform Player A. This theory is most effective if Player A and Player B were “salary neighbors” prior to entering their second year of arbitration -- meaning they had earned similar salaries the preceding year.

Aceves earned $1.275 million preceding his second year of arbitration eligibility. Oviedo earned $2.0 million prior to his second year.

With Parnell having earned $1.7 million, both Aceves and Oviedo are therefore Parnell’s salary neighbors, and the raise theory could be effective in Parnell’s case.

Despite Parnell’s superior ERA and WHIP totals, both Aceves and Oviedo tossed more innings, saved more games and pitched to higher K/9 ratios. All three pitchers were successful in the closer role, but based on these comparisons, especially to Oviedo, the Mets will argue Parnell should not earn more than a $1.65 million raise. If he is to earn more than Oviedo, it should only be slightly more.

Once again stressing health, Oviedo closed a full season for the Marlins without injury (and did so for two straight seasons), whereas Parnell poses more questions than certainties entering 2014 due to his serious injury. Accordingly, based on these comps, the Mets will submit to Parnell an offer of no more than $3.2 million.

PREDICTED RESULT

Oviedo will prove even more important to the negotiation than simply because of his raise. Having earned a total salary of $3.65 million, Oviedo’s salary represents the approximate midpoint between Parnell’s predicted goal ($4.0 million) and the Mets’ likely limited offer ($3.2 million). To truly determine where Parnell’s salary may land requires a closer look at these two specific players.

While Parnell tossed fewer innings in his platform season and had eight fewer saves, his peripheral numbers (ERA, WHIP, BAA) suggest he was more dominant. When comparing their career statistics, Parnell bests Oviedo in some key categories (G, IP, holds, ERA, K, BAA). In a world where saves rule however, it follows that their total salaries should be somewhat equivalent.

To determine just how equivalent, Parnell’s comparison with Clippard likely tips the scale in his favor.

As previously proven by the comparison with Clippard ($4.0 million), even closers with only one full year of experience in the role can earn elite salaries. And Parnell’s story more closely resembles Clippard’s than those of Wilson and Aceves. Wilson was never a full-time closer and Aceves’ closer season was a whirlwind, as demonstrated by his 5.36 ERA.

The Mets’ emphasis on Parnell’s injury will impact negotiations significantly, suggesting Parnell should not earn “Clippard money.”

As such, we are predicting Parnell will earn a salary of $3.75 million in 2014, placing him above Oviedo and recognizing his dominant performance as a closer, but taking into account the seriousness of his physical condition.

Salary projection: Dillon Gee

November, 11, 2013
11/11/13
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Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsDillon Gee had a breakout season in 2013. How much will that cost the Mets?



First up, this detailed report from the Pace team on Gee ...

Following a 2012 season shortened by surgery to repair a damaged artery in his pitching shoulder, Dillon Gee rebounded to become one of the league’s most successful pitchers. Gee set career highs this past season in games started (32), innings (199), quality starts (16) and strikeouts (142), while also posting his best career ERA for a full season (3.62).

Gee exhibited the qualities of a starting pitcher teams covet: dominance, effectiveness and reliability. Yet while Gee’s 2013 season was successful, consistency over a long period remains the key to an elite salary.

This analysis explores how Gee’s career performance will impact his salary for the upcoming season as he goes through the arbitration process for the first time.

THE CASE FOR DILLON GEE

Gee’s representatives will argue for a high salary by focusing on Gee’s 2013 season. They will begin by spinning Gee’s rough start to 2013 (2-6 with a 6.34 ERA) by reasonably arguing he needed to re-acclimate to the league after a long layoff due to his 2012 injury. That position will be supported by Gee’s success during the remainder of the season.

On May 30, Gee dominated the Yankees, throwing 7 1/3 innings, striking out 12 and retiring the final 20 batters he faced. From that point until the end of the season -- a period that spanned 22 games started and 149 1/3 innings -- Gee won 10 games, tossed 15 quality starts, struck out 105 batters and produced a 2.71 ERA. He earned elite status during that span by ranking fifth in innings, ninth in wins and quality starts, and seventh in ERA.

Gee’s camp also will frame his value as a reliable and consistent part of a young Mets rotation. In a year that saw Jonathon Niese miss time due to a partially torn rotator cuff and All-Star Matt Harvey suffer a devastating elbow injury, Gee was the only pitcher to make 32 starts for the Mets. In addition to leading the team in wins and innings, he also finished second on the team in quality starts and strikeouts, thereby consistently putting his team in a position to win. As a first-year arbitration-eligible player, Gee will argue he deserves an elite salary due to his standout performance and unquestioned importance to the Mets.

To argue for that elite salary, Gee’s agents will compare him to other starting pitchers who recently went through the arbitration process for the first time and who were handsomely compensated. A comparison between Gee and former Braves pitcher Tommy Hanson, who earned $3.75 million as a first-year arbitration-eligible starting pitcher after 2012, therefore becomes essential.

That Gee definitively outperformed Hanson in the platform (comparable) season in games started, innings pitched, quality starts, WHIP and batting average against is most persuasive.

Hanson’s platform season demonstrated a noticeable and precipitous decline in his overall performance. In 2012, among the 91 pitchers who tossed at least 160 innings, Hanson ranked last in quality starts, 72nd in ERA and 86th in WHIP. Gee will use these facts to his advantage to suggest that despite the fact Hanson did not epitomize a reliable, ace-quality starting pitcher in his most recent performance, he nonetheless earned a significant salary.

A comparison of their respective career stats proves closer and favors Hanson. But because Gee proved dominant in his platform season, he distinguishes himself from Hanson and will argue that he should at least be compensated at an equivalent level.

Doug Fister of the Detroit Tigers, who earned $4.0 million in 2013 after his first arbitration-eligible year, offers a second point of comparison for Gee.

In their platform seasons, Gee started and won more games, pitched more innings and recorded more strikeouts. And while Fister made two trips to the DL, Gee remained a reliable and healthy workhorse, even leading his team in games started and innings. In terms of career statistics, while Fister tossed more innings, Gee won three more games while pitching to comparable ERA, WHIP, strikeout and batting average against totals. Logic follows that Gee merits a salary similar to Fister’s high level.

Based on the comparisons between Gee, Hanson and Fister, Gee’s representatives likely will seek a salary of $3.85 million, recognizing that Hanson and Fister tossed more career innings, but noting Gee’s outstanding platform-season performance that placed him on par with both pitchers.

THE CASE FOR THE METS

The Mets will argue against Gee on the basis of inconsistency.

Gee has only spent three full years in the league, and each season has had a different story.

In 2011, although Gee won 13 games, he pitched to a mediocre 4.43 ERA and 1.38 WHIP, tossed only 160 2/3 innings, and struck out only 114 batters. Gee proved average at best down the stretch, pitching to a 5.25 ERA after the All-Star break.

In 2012, Gee similarly began the season, pitching to a 4.85 ERA in March/April and 4.58 ERA in May. While he showed some progress by pitching to a 3.90 ERA in June and 1.93 ERA in two July starts, Gee’s season abruptly ended when he required surgery to repair an artery.

Although Gee proved healthy and more effective in 2013, his season was not unblemished. He began the year by pitching to a 2-6 record and 6.34 ERA before May 30. The Mets will respect and appreciate Gee’s successful performance for the remainder of the season, but they likely will argue the focused body of work proves just too limited to warrant an elite salary. Gee remains a pitcher without a definitive identity, and certainly not a reliable or dominant ace-quality starter deserving of an elite level salary.

Subsequently, the Mets would argue Gee’s statistics and story seem similar to former first-time eligible starters Dallas Braden of the Oakland Athletics (who earned $3.35 million after 2010) and Jair Jurrjens of the Atlanta Braves (who earned $3.3 million, also after 2010).

Gee and Braden’s statistics in their platform (first-time arbitration-eligible) seasons prove strikingly similar. Although Gee tossed two more games, Braden approached Gee in wins, while besting him in quality starts, ERA, WHIP and batting average against. Both pitchers ranked among their league’s best in their platform seasons, and the Mets will subsequently argue they should be similarly compensated for their similar performance.

As for their careers, once again the players prove similar in the major statistical categories. And when incorporating the fact Braden missed the final portion of the preceding season (2009) due to injury just as Gee, the players’ stories prove even more comparable. The Mets will argue Braden sets the baseline level for a player with that storyline. The team likely will conclude that since Gee followed Braden’s career path, Gee should be compensated at the same level as Braden with a salary around $3.35 million.

The comparison between Gee and Jurrjens reinforces this conclusion. While Jurrjens did not perform as well when compared to Gee’s platform season, Jurrjens still bested Gee in every major statistical category over their respective careers to that date. Despite his mediocre platform season, Jurrjens had started more than 30 games in both of his previous two seasons while pitching to ERAs of 2.60 and 3.68. He also proved the more consistent and reliable pitcher. Although Jurrjens’ poor 2010 season certainly impacted his post-arbitration salary, the Mets will argue that he earned his $3.3 million on the merits of his career statistics. Since Jurrjens clearly outperformed Gee in career-to-date performance, the Mets will conclude Gee should not earn more than Jurrjens.

Yet, in recognition of the fact Gee outperformed Jurrjens in their respective platform seasons, but also in light of Jurrjens’ superior career totals and Braden’s salary, the Mets will seek to limit Gee to a maximum salary of $3.35 million.

PREDICTED RESULT

With Gee likely seeking a salary of approximately $3.85 million and the Mets hoping to limit Gee’s salary to approximately $3.35 million, one more relevant player whose salary falls between these two figures becomes necessary to consider: White Sox starter John Danks, who earned $3.45 million after 2009.

As is clear from the chart, Danks and Gee are almost clones in terms of statistical totals in both platform season and career-to-date performance.

In response to Danks, Gee’s camp likely will argue Danks’ 2009 salary no longer remains an accurate reflection of the current market for first-time eligible pitchers -- that the market has shifted dramatically since that time. Citing Hanson ($3.75 million) and Fister ($4.0 million), both of whom were from the most recent arbitration class, Gee’s agents will argue that a higher salary for first-year arbitration pitchers represents the shift from Danks’ level and that Gee should be compensated accordingly.

The Mets will counter this argument with the fact that since the date Danks received his salary, no first-time eligible pitcher with fewer than 530 career-to-date innings pitched has received a higher salary than Danks. The Mets will argue that since Gee started 10 fewer games and tossed 32 fewer innings than Danks without outperforming him, Gee should not receive more than Danks’ $3.45 million due to Gee’s inconsistent performance.

With strong arguments from both Gee and the Mets, this case proves difficult. However, in light of Hanson’s high salary despite a mediocre platform season, we predict Gee will be able to prove his remarkable platform season should carry significant weight.

Nonetheless, we estimate Gee will not completely break free from the established “Danks Line” and instead will receive a 2014 salary that falls narrowly above Danks’, at $3.55 million.

Intro to Pace salary-projection series

November, 11, 2013
11/11/13
8:59
AM ET
Dan Masi and Jared Hand, representing Pace Law School in White Plains, won the sixth-annual Tulane National Baseball Arbitration Competition in January in New Orleans. This week, along with new additions to the Pace Law arbitration team Pete Naber and Jesse Kantor, they offer their salary predictions for the Mets’ high-profile arbitration-eligible players: Dillon Gee, Bobby Parnell, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy.

The Pace Law arbitration team will explain MLB’s salary-arbitration process and will predict the outcome of the contract negotiations and potential arbitration cases for these players using the same methods agents and team officials employ.




As the Mets hope to make big splashes during the winter on a potentially limited budget, every dollar matters. The salaries of these four players could be crucial to the shape of Sandy Alderson’s offseason and the near future of the organization.

Here's the Pace team's primer on the arbitration process:

Under Major League Baseball’s collective bargaining agreement, players typically become arbitration-eligible for the first time after accumulating at least three years of major league Service. Some players can also become eligible for their first year of arbitration if they are designated as “Super Two’s” -- meaning they have accumulated at least two but less than three years of major league service and at least 86 days of service in the previous season while also ranking in the top 22 percent of all players who have at least two but less than three years of service. (For example, Ike Davis was designated a Super Two and became eligible for his first year of arbitration following the 2012 season after having accumulated a service time of 2 years and 168 days.) A player earns a day of service for each day he remains on a team’s active roster or disabled list.

Arbitration eligibility becomes critical to a player’s earning capacity in his early career because, until that moment, he holds little bargaining power. A player stays under team control until he reaches or exceeds six years of major league service, when he can elect to become a free agent and is able to negotiate a contract of any length on the open market.

A player with less than six years of service has no negotiating leverage prior to becoming arbitration eligible, since he remains subject to baseball’s “reserve system” that bars a player from seeking deals with other teams and from negotiations with his own club. Players therefore are generally forced to accept minimum salaries regardless of the quality of their performance. (The major league minimum for 2014 is $500,000.)

Of course, teams are free to offer their players a larger contract based on perceived value, but the team has no obligation to do so. As a case in point, Mike Trout, who finished second in the 2012 AL MVP voting, earned only $510,000 in 2013 because he had only one year of service and was subject to the reserve system.

After a player does become arbitration-eligible, the team must first decide whether to tender a contract to the player. If the team does not offer the player a contract by the tender deadline in early December, the player becomes a non-tendered free agent regardless of how many years he has played. (Mike Pelfrey was non-tendered by the Mets during his arbitration years.)

If the team has tendered a contract to its arbitration-eligible player, the player can either accept that typically low offer, or the sides can begin negotiations for a contract of any service length. (Jonathon Niese is the most recent example with the Mets. He signed a five-year, $25.5 million deal.) Typically, a player will earn significantly more than the minimum salary after becoming arbitration-eligible and will receive significant raises for each subsequent arbitration year until he reaches the point of free agency. If a player has no long-term deal that covers his arbitration years, he typically will engage in arbitration a maximum of three times prior to his free agency. A Super Two may go through the process four times.

In addition to offseason trades and free-agent signings that certainly catch the winter headlines, teams are busy negotiating contracts with arbitration-eligible players throughout the offseason. If no agreement between a player and team materializes by the CBA pre-set date in mid-January, then a final binding arbitration date is set to determine the player’s one-year salary for the subsequent season. In preparation for this final date, both the player and his current team exchange and submit to a panel of highly qualified arbitrators a salary request. They also create statistical-evidence presentations, according to CBA rules.

Neither side needs to justify its submitted figure at the point of submitting their figures. However, once exchanged, these figures cannot be altered. Assuming the sides have not agreed to a contract prior to the scheduled date of arbitration, the arbitration panel will proceed to determine the appropriate salary. Since the panel must award only one of the stated figures -- not a figure between -- each side needs only to prove that the player is worth either just above or below the midpoint between the two submitted figures.

In making its determination, the panel may consider only certain evidence:

• The quality of the player’s contribution to his club during the past season (referred to as his “platform season"), including but not limited to his overall performance, special qualities of leadership and public appeal

• The length and consistency of his career contribution

• The record of the player’s past compensation

• Comparative baseball salaries

• The existence of any physical or mental defects on the part of the player

• The recent performance record of the club, including but not limited to its league standing and attendance as an indication of public acceptance.

Statistical comparisons to players with similar service time often provide the most convincing argument. Arbitrators tend to base their overall decisions on the similarity of the player in question to the presented “comps” in their equivalent year of service time and in their career stats to that point.

As we spend the next few days exploring the cases of the Mets’ prominent arbitration-eligible players, we will focus our analysis on each player’s platform season, career statistical totals, intriguing stories and comparable players’ statistics and salaries in order to predict their salaries. Enjoy.

Bios ...

Dan Masi graduated from the University of Georgia in 2009. He is a third-year law student at Pace Law School. Masi finished in first place at last year’s Tulane Baseball Arbitration Competition and will be looking to defend his title this winter. He hopes to use his experience to work in baseball operations for an MLB team in the future.

Jared Hand graduated from SUNY Oneonta in 2008 and from Pace Law School, Cum Laude, in 2012. A two-time participant at the Tulane Baseball Arbitration Competition, in 2011 and 2012, Hand coached last year’s championship-winning team and will coach again this year. He is an Associate at Welby, Brady & Greenblatt, LLP, a law firm located in White Plains.

Peter Naber, a 2011 graduate of James Madison University, is a third-year law student at Pace Law. In addition to working as a member of Pace International Law Review, Naber recently competed at the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition held at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego. He will be joining Masi this year on Pace’s team for the 2014 Tulane Baseball Competition.

Jesse Kantor graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010. He is a second-year law student at Pace Law. A member of Pace Law Review, Kantor also competed at the National Sports Law Negotiation Competition. He will be joining Masi and Naber on Pace’s 2014 Tulane competition team.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.301 9 53 73
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 26
RBIL. Duda 76
RD. Murphy 73
OPSL. Duda .824
WB. Colon 12
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.45
SOZ. Wheeler 163