Corey Hart Wins the First Arbitration, Does it Portend Trouble for the Cubs?

Social Navigation

Corey Hart Wins the First Arbitration, Does it Portend Trouble for the Cubs?

Chicago Cubs

The Milwaukee Brewers and Corey Hart engaged in the offseason’s first arbitration this week, and the decision came back yesterday: victory for Hart, who’d requested $4.8 million, which was $650k more than the Brewers had offered. Given that Hart was just average last year (100 OPS+), and below average in 2008 (98 OPS+), the figure is both surprising and terrifying for a guy in his second year of arbitration.

“I’m ecstatic. To be honest I was surprised,” said Hart. “I walked out of there yesterday and told my wife that I didn’t think it was going to go our way. If you look at the numbers, they go the teams’ way more often than not. I felt like we had a good case, but when you sit there for two and a half hours listening to them say you’re not very good, it’s hard to feel very confident about it.

“It wasn’t fun, but I went in there expecting it to be worse. I actually got to talk to Gord [Ash, Milwaukee’s assistant GM] right before it and he was very genuine when he said that regardless of what happened, I’m still the right fielder and they want me to have a good season. This was just business.”

Well, it’s easy to be kind when you win.

So what does this mean for the Chicago Cubs and Ryan Theriot?

I wouldn’t read too much into the decision here, as all of the arbitrations are independent, and we have no way of know what actually convinced the arbitrator that Hart was worth $4.8 million. The Cubs have a very good case for why Ryan Theriot, in his first year of arbitration, is not worth $3.4 million – he’s been average or below average offensively for a couple of his seasons, he regressed badly last year, he’s nothing special defensively.

Of course, that sounds very similar to the case the Brewers had against Hart.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.