Maybe it was the rain. Maybe it was destiny. Maybe it was the help of three double plays. Maybe it is because the Diamondbacks just aren’t that good. Whatever the reason, Josh Fogg notched his first career playoff win last night in Denver, Colorado. And it will cause me to rant about one of my least favorite aspects of the collective bargaining agreement: arbitration.
Josh Fogg made $2,150,000 in 2005 while pitching for the Pirates. For that money he went 6-11 and was demoted from the starting rotation. Faced with giving him a raise in arbitration, the Pirates chose to non-tender him. As a free agent, he signed an incentive laced contract with the Rockies that paid him $450,000 as a base salary.
After posting a typical Fogg year (11-9 with an 88 ERA+) in 2006, the Rockies avoided arbitration by giving Fogg a $3,625,000 one year deal. He again tossed the way he always has. His 10-9 record and 4.94 ERA in 2007 are on par with his career marks.
This is where baseball needs to be fixed with the “offer sheet” system. If a player is a free agent, the team that formerly held his contract should be able to match the best offer the player receives and retain his services. Fogg, of course, isn’t worth $3 million as a pitcher. But for a million? Sure, keep him in Pittsburgh. Let the fans have some continuity on the roster and get league average performance. Instead, because of the arbitration system, he was non-tendered and became a free agent. I don’t think he would’ve turned around the 2006 or 2007 season for the Pirates, but his performance was far better than what the Pirates got from the #5 position in the rotation (6-17 with a 7.22 ERA from the 32 starts that Tony Armas, John Van Benschoten and Shane Youman combined to make) in 2007.