We will soon be entering arbitration season, never a fun time for teams or the players. This year Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy and Bobby Parnell are all eligible for arbitration for the first time.
Arbitration is a brutal process — each side submits a salary figure, then the player has to prove why his is worthy of his number, and the team is in the unenviable position of basically bashing the player to prove the salary should be their lower figure. I remember reading once that the proof that arbitration is a bad process can be found in the fact that no other sport has adopted it as a way to resolve salary disputes.
Most arbitration cases are settled before the hearing. The Mets have been good at avoiding arbitration; before Oliver Perez (of all people) won his case in 2008, the Mets had not been to a hearing since 1992 (David Cone won).
It is unknown at this point if the Mets will be able to avoid arbitration with their eligible players. Davis made the odd amount of $506,690 last season, Murphy earned the odder number of $512,196, and Parnell made the rounder $504,000.
After hitting 32 home runs last season, I can see Davis asking for anywhere between $3 million and $4 million. However, he also hit just .227, so I project him settling at around $2 million. I see Murphy earning about the same, and Parnell will come in at around a million bucks. These are all fair salaries for both sides.
But arbitration is such an unpredictable process, no one can tell what might happen. The players might shoot for the moon while the Mets might be stingy (a shock, I know). Either way, the players will get their millions and ticket and hot dog prices will rise to pay for it.