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Wednesday Rockpile: Colorado's Salary Arbitration Scorecard

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With Ian Stewart in the fold on a one year, $2.2875 million deal, Colorado's offseason as far as the 2011 payroll goes is basically over. All that remains is for us to find out how much the pre-arbitration guys like Dexter Fowler are receiving (the minimum in 2011 is $420,000. Well, that and we need to find out who will make the Opening Day roster, but that's getting a little ahead of ourselves.

One of the more important details of any team's offseason is the often unpleasant task of dealing with its arbitration eligible players. I've written about the perils of salary arbitration before, but as I wrote two weeks ago, the Rockies seemed to have done quite well for themselves this offseason.

Here's the pay raises the Rockies handed out to their six arbitration-eligible players this offseason:

Player Name

ML Service Time

2010 Salary

2011 Salary

Diff. from 2010

Jason Hammel

3.153

$1,900,000

$3,000,000

58%

Matt Belisle

5.02

$850,000

$2,350,000

176%

Jose Lopez

5.14

$3,000,000

$3,600,000

20%

Matt Lindstrom

4

$1,625,000

$2,800,000

72%

Felipe Paulino

2.163

$415,000

$790,000

90%

Ian Stewart

2.154

$406,000

$2,287,500

463%

Total

 

$8,196,000

$14,827,500

81%

Considering that the salary arbitration process artificially inflates salaries, much as the first three years of team control artificially deflates salaries, the Rockies still make out pretty well here -- about as well as they can in this awful system, anyway.

Getting on my soapbox for a minute: it should be noted the inflation of salaries due to the arbitration process far outstrips the actual rate of inflation--it's an unsustainable economic model in which reform (perhaps a free market system or pegging to the rate of inflation) is needed. I mean, in the salary arbitration process, even when the player loses the hearing, causes salaries to rise quickly at an exorbitant rate. Those costs get passed onto someone, and that someone is you and I, the consumers.

A couple of years ago I calculated that if all wins were theoretically available in a free market, players would be valued at $2.7 million per win instead of the going rate of $4 million at the time. I think that a move towards a free market system (say, reducing years under team control to three and doing away with arbitration altogether) in which such inefficiencies were to be reduced would ultimately be beneficial to teams in the long run, though in the short run it would favor those teams with the means to spend on the free market. It's my own little pipe dream.

But I digress. $14.83 million  for two starting position players, three bullpen pieces, and a back-end starting pitcher is a pretty good deal for the Rockies -- even if as a group the players are getting paid almost double what they received last year.

Off-Topic.

PuRPs Update

Not sure if you saw this, but PuRP #28 Samuel Deduno is no longer with the organization, as the Padres have claimed him off of waivers. Deduno had been placed on waivers because the Rockies replaced him on the 40 man roster with newly acquired pitcher Clayton Mortenson -- meaning that the Rockies essentially traded Ethan Hollingsworth and Deduno for the services of Mortenson. I hope that he's worth it.

Speaking of PuRPs, Mike Newman of Scouting the Sally has a scouting report on our #26 PuRP, OF Eliezer Mesa. Also, as Andrew linked yesterday, Fangraphs released their top 10 Rockies prospects list. In all, I believe that it's a decent look at the top prospects in the system.

In other news, Steve Foster of ITR continues his offseason review series with a look at starting pitching, which seems pretty set heading into Spring Training (a mere two weeks away!).

Finally, in case you missed it, Rob Neyer, formerly of ESPN, has joined the SB Nation family. Russ comments on Neyer's first article over at SB Nation Denver.