Thursday, February 18, 2010

"Part of me has changed since that arbitration meeting"

Federal Baseball has the transcript up of the Brian Bruney interview today on XM in which he basically spills his guts about how the team tore him apart and lost his trust at the arbitration hearing this week.

First lemme say to Brian on behalf of all Nationals fans--please don't hold Stan Kasten against us. It's not our fault.

To the rest of you, read this transcript. I sure hope Jim Riggleman has some magic way to break the ice, because I can feel the chill from here.

22 comments:

Seattle Steve said...

This is why teams should never go to arbitration over a couple hundred grand. In baseball payroll terms that's half a replacement player. Not worth trashing a player's confidence and respect for the organization over. And if you think he sucks that bad...why is he on the team?

Steven said...

Agreed--and I don't think it's the confidence of the player so much as the trust between employer and employee. The stuff about how things he's said were used against him and that the team went after him on injuries.... is it any wonder that Stammen and Zimmermann felt they needed to hide their injuries?

Todd Boss said...

I read between the lines of this transcript just as FJB has. And i'm dismayed. First the team signs Capps to basically take over the job they had more or less promised to Bruney earlier in the off-season, and now this. I read his comments and said to myself, "well, there goes his Nats career."

I wonder if the "hiding injuries" comes from Riggleman being an old-school manager? You know, play hurt, play hard, etc.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but the team is not the bad guy here. Bruney wanted more money than he deserved, the Nats called him on it, and now he is crying like a baby. Hey Bruney, GROW UP and take it like a man. This is the equivalent of that kid we all knew who would just take his ball and go home. As players are very quick to say (when it suits their case), this is a business. Sorry, but Bruney is overrated.

Jaxpo Nat said...

Guys, read your comments. You are speaking of the players as if they are fragile children with ever-so-delicate egos that need to be coddled. Crissake! They are grown men making millions of dollars. They need to man up. Every team does this in arbitration hearings.

Seattle Steve said...

We're saying that players are human and having your boss rip you apart has to affect how you feel about your job. I was wrong to say it was only a difference fo 200k to the team...it was actually 350k. But there are two bad things that can happen if you go to arbitration: 1) You can lose. 2) You can win and piss off the player. Splitting the difference is almost always a better deal when the team and player are less than a million bucks apart.

An Briosca Mor said...

Awwww. Did the poor widdle boy get his feewings hurt by the nasty arbitwation heawing? Pardon me if I don't feel the least bit sorry for him. If he's so fragile, he could have avoided the whole thing by just taking the 20% raise they offered him in the first place! He said in the XM interview that he doesn't care about the money. If that's the case, a 20% raise would seem more than adequate to most people.

So what if he's mad? That's probably the best outcome here anyway, because the only thing he can do about it is pitch well - and he knows it now. Nothing will be handed to him, ever. And when he pitches well, that will put the pressure on Capps to pitch well too. Rizzo has killed two birds with one stone in this arb hearing.

Steven said...

It's possible that Brian Bruney is a fragile, weak-minded child. And that his attitude is immature and totally unjustified. I don't think so. He actually seems like a pretty bright guy. But let's assume you're right and he's just a crappy poker player with a fragile ego.

So what? If the Nationals get a less good performance from Bruney, do you feel better about it because it's Bruney's fault? Are the losses that occur because of the poor relationship between the player and his team more tolerable, just because you're convinced that the player is the bad guy?

Anonymous said...

@Steven - If hurt feelings will make him pitch poorly then he shouldn't be a major leaguer (or professional player at ALL). C-R-Y-B-A-B-Y. And they don't make good teammates.

DC Brewer said...

I really have to wonder what role the agents play in these thigns. From what I understand, Rizzo won't negotiate on arbitration cases after a certain time frame and I really wonder if the two hearings this year aren't at least partly due to the agents for Bruney and Burnett not taking that seriously. I am almost sure that the normal course of events for a ballplayer is to be completely shielded from whatever the club is saying while being told how awesome they are by their agent.

The other thing that rubs me a bit the wrong way about it all is that these players are looking for raises that are considerably more than my entire salary after they have ALREADY gotten raises considerably more than my salary. And, I feel like I get paid pretty well!

Jaxpo Nat said...

Chris Needham says it pretty well with his most recent post:
http://dcbb.blogspot.com/2010/02/brian-bruney-sucks.html#comments

Steven said...

Chris is a funny one. The nice thing about the baseball labor wars is that it's like the opposite of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Whichever side you choose... you're right!

Section 222 said...

Boy, is this going to be a great season! My two favorite Nats bloggers, Steven and Chris, writing on the same topic, taking opposite positions, and both doing so fairly convincingly, and definitely entertainingly. Thanks guys.

I'm more on Chris's side on this one. I might be wrong, but I get the impression that Bruney wasn't willing to settle for a compromise number because he thought he had a responsibilty to other relievers to try to push the market higher. No one forced him to have such a grand opinion not only of his own abilities, but of his role in the profession.

If nothing else, he now knows he really has to prove himself this year. If he's a real pro, he will work his ass off and show Rizzo he was wrong. If he does that, he'll get his 350K and more the next time around. But if he's really as damaged by this as Steven suggests, and lets his disappointment affect his relationship with the team and his performance, then he not only misjudged the result and didn't understand what to expect from the process, he will have let it mess up his future earnings. Who's fault will that be?

Nattydread said...

Steve's point that the Nats have more arb cases than any other team is a good one. Arbitration is a poor last resort, especially when its over spare change.

But:

1) Who's to say that the Nats didn't offer to meet Bruney half way and were refused? and

2) When you are a professional making salaries in the millions --- and you agree to an arbitration process --- it behooves you to let it go afterward. You had your day in court. Leave it there.

Rizzo is not crowing to the media.

Moneyball is over. Time to play ball.

Matteo said...

This is one of the rare times I disagree with your writing Steven. Fans know what arbitration is about (he suck-no I don't...) so you have to assume Bruney knew this too. This is the system that is in place (we can debate if it is a good system or not seperately) so this is how it works. Bruney had to know he might loose and the team was going to point out every flaw in his game all while he was pointig out every bright spot. Thus take your raise, which by the way is a much better percentage pay raise than most of us could ever get in a year, and be happy about it.

Steven said...

Let me try to make my point again. First, it doesn't matter whether Bruney is right or wrong. He may be a total knucklehead selfish jerk. I agree that it's pretty bad form for him to be publicly complaining about what he's earning, especially in today's economy.

But... the team's job is to win games. In order to win games, they need to put the best team on the field. In order to get winning talent, you have to be able to handle some knuckleheads and selfish jerks.

Ergo, it's the job of management to handle those players.

Now, it's possible that Bruney is just a completely unmanageable jerk and needs to be cut. Then, Rizzo is faulted for not doing his homework on the player's makeup.

Otherwise, the bottom line is that none of this helps the team win more games. Probably the opposite. So, that's bad, and ought to have been avoided, either by not trading for such a miserable jerk in the first place or better handling the personality of said jerk.

That's if you think he's a total jerk, which isn't really my take, but for the sake of argument, there you have it.

Anonymous said...

Your take is that the organization is a total failure, no matter what they do or don't do. Their mere existence is costing the team wins. We get that. Quit trying to deny it.

Steven said...

Dang, you're on to my gambit. Just wait till you hear the convoluted reasons I give for their failure after they win the World Series this year!

Jaxpo Nat said...

"Otherwise, the bottom line is that none of this helps the team win more games. Probably the opposite."

WRONG. There is zero proof that saying mean things about Bruney or any player will affect their performance. You are making a huge assumption there. Players perform for themselves or their teammates and to win a ring, not because they are in love with front office executives. Ergo, feelings toward the front office will matter little when they are between the lines. Not that it could never happen, but you are taking it for granted, which is ridiculous. In fact, I suspect the opposite effect will occur, wanting to perform better to get the hell out of dodge later. That (the player hightailing it once eligible for free agency) is the only downside I see to any of this.

flippin said...

I can certainly understand that the bad blood created by arbitration is not healthy, but it is what it is. Assuming the arbitration process truly is fair, the fact that the Nats have now *won* a couple tells me that players think they deserve a premium for playing for the Nats, I presume the arbitrator does not factor in such a premium. The player that comes in with a inflated salary demand and gripes when he doesn't get it, is signaling to the other players that he is *special*. He may as well show up in Viera and tell his shit bag new teammates that they are lucky to have him. He is a mediocre middle reliever for god's sake.

Steven said...

This is a whole other ball of wax, but the arbitrators are not unbiased. They work for the league, and they award salaries that are far less than what they would get on the free market, and they side with the teams far more often than with the players.

flippin said...

OK, I don't have any supporting data, but if a team *wins* relatively more arb cases than other teams, then that means the players collectively are overestimating their value to that team, or at least asking more than they would from other teams. Or, even more simply, a team that has lots of arb cases (the Nats) indicates the team is comfortable with going to arb because they know they will win. Arbitration screws players equally across the league--the Bruney's of the world are bitch slapping their new teammates. What was it that Tavarez (sp?) said last spring?