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Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Maybe Tigers should go to mat next time


In his long tenure as the Tigers' general manager, Dave Dombrowski hasn't once taken a player to arbitration. As Bob Ballard writes, this might not be a good thing:
Consider: thanks to long-term contracts rather than arbitration, this year the Tigers will pay $34.5 million to Bonderman, Willis, and Robertson ... who combined for three wins last year.

Willis apparently is a lost cause, with Robertson not far behind (sorry, fellas). Bonderman's supposed to be "healthy" but it's fair to wonder since he hasn't pitched effectively since 2007.

Anyway, the point isn't that the Tigers are going to throw away a lot of money this season. That's old news. I don't even think the point is that Dombrowski should be more willing to go all the way in the arbitration process. These days, very few cases are actually heard by an arbitrator.

What Dombrowski needs to find is that happy middle ground between all the effort (and sometimes pain) of an arbitration hearing, and committing $10 million per season to pitchers who haven't earned it. Maybe he'll get his chance in a few years with Rick Porcello.