If you recall, before their arbitration years, players under team control can be paid whatever the team chooses to pay them, so long as it is at least the league minimum. Usually, the team and the player agree to a deal, and usually, teams use certain formulas to find an appropriate price tag. But if the team and player cannot agree on a deal, the player can simply be “renewed” by the team – i.e., the team unilaterally decides the player’s salary for the upcoming season.
The Cubs, for what it’s worth, have rarely had to use a renewal – I believe Ian Happ two years ago was the only time ever in the Theo Epstein regime, and he still got quite a bit above the minimum. Moreover, the Cubs have tended to be among the more generous teams in paying their pre-arbitration players.
Contrast that with the Cardinals’ approach to ace Jack Flaherty, whom they just renewed – with a penalty! – for the second straight season. The sides could not agree to a deal, so the Cardinals renewed him at their chosen price tag and docked him $10,000 for failing to come to an agreement.
#Cardinals did stretch their formula for Flaherty. Awarded him a $10,000 bonus for fourth-place Cy Young finish, and that covered the team-policy penalty for a renewal. He received a one-year, $604,500 salary, per source.
This story will be updated.https://t.co/WuUcUyAj6i
— Derrick S. Goold (@dgoold) March 8, 2020
I’m not saying the Cubs are saints or anything, and I also know that the Cardinals are not alone in using this system. But it just seems so shitty to tell a young star, who has zero leverage, either you agree to our terms or we’re effectively going to fine you.
For his part, Flaherty doesn’t blame the Cardinals and instead just wanted to take a stand on the principle. Other players on other teams have done the same. Fair enough. Just sayin’, though? I’d be extremely annoyed about my team’s ridiculous policy.