Man, I wish I could have been in the arbitration process for Jeff Mathis. Mathis asked for $1.3 million, the team offered a measly $700,000. Hey that was an insult. The man hit .211 after all!
Since I wasn't there, I can only imagine how it went. Maybe something like this:
ARBITRATOR: We are here to assess the 2009 season of catcher Jeff Mathis of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Representing the Angels is Tony Reagins. Representing Jeff Mathis is Jeff Mathis. Mister Mathis, do you feel you can be objective in this discussion?
MATHIS: What do you mean? I'm arguing on behalf of myself.
ARBITRATOR: All right, you don't have to get testy. Let's get started.
LA ANGELS: We like Jeff, but he hit .211 over the course of the year. And that's the highest he's ever hit in the big leagues.
MATHIS: Hey, lots of guys tear it up in the minors, then take a while to find their stride in the bigs.
LA ANGELS: You hit .276 in the minors.
MATHIS: Like I said, I'm here for my fielding.
LA ANGELS: Which we appreciate. After all, you wouldn't even be on the team if you weren't a good fielder.
MATHIS: Are you saying I'm only on the team because of my glove.
LA ANGELS: What else would it be?
MATHIS: Exactly. I'm an outstanding catcher. The team ERA was almost a run lower with me than with the other guy.
LA ANGELS: The team ERA with Mike Napoli was 4.86. Yours was almost 4. That's nothing to write home about.
MATHIS: What about all those guys I threw out trying to steal?
LA ANGELS: You threw out less than 25%.
MATHIS: Guys are fast.
LA ANGELS: The Molina brothers were in the 40% range.
LA ANGELS: No, separately.
MATHIS: So forget my fielding. I'm a stickman. I hit .538 in the playoffs. I won game three with that double!
LA ANGELS: A great hit, but we don't think one hit was worth $700,000. We did lose the series, after all.
MATHIS: Not my fault. Figgins tanked, Vladdy tanked, Lackey didn't get it done. You should get rid of them.
LA ANGELS: We already did.
LA ANGELS: Do you really think you deserve almost double what we're offering?
MATHIS: Double? Is that what I'm asking for? Wow.
LA ANGELS: You didn't know?
MATHIS: My agent tells me to just worry about playing, he'll take care of the money. I thought I was in here to fight against a paycut.
LA ANGELS: That's a relief. We were a little concerned that you felt that your performance warranted such a pay raise. We don't mind rewarding excellence, but not mediocrity.
MATHIS: I'm not a brain surgeon, but that sounded like an insult.
LA ANGELS: Not at all. It's a compliment to your character. And those of us on the Angels consider character to be as important as talent.
MATHIS: See, that sounded like another insult.
LA ANGELS: Jeff, if we wanted to insult you, we would just cut you.
MATHIS: You're thinking of cutting me?
LA ANGELS: Not until we can see what Bobby Wilson can do. He's a better fielder than you. If he can hit, you're history.
MATHIS: Please don't cut me. Who else is gonna want me?
LA ANGELS; So you agree to play for the lower salary?
MATHIS: I can't believe you're paying me a salary at all. $700,000 is fantastic. I'm really grateful to be in the big leagues. I still can't believe no one has figured out I'm a stiff.
LA ANGELS: This is being taped, you know.
MATHIS: My name is Mike Napoli.
ARBITRATOR (waking up): I vote for the player!
LA ANGELS: What? Impossible!
ARBITRATOR; Nothing's impossible if you believe in yourself. Three weeks ago I was a plumber.
LA ANGELS: You just gave him 1.3 million dollars!
ARBITRATOR: Who? Mike Napoli? He hit twenty homers. He deserves it.
LA ANGELS: No, Jeff Mathis.
ARBITRATOR: Who's Jeff Mathis?
LA ANGELS: The guy you just gave 1.3 million dollars to.
ARBITRATOR (shaking Mathis' hand): Congratulations. Now I have to go. They're waiting for me.
LA ANGELS: Who?
They turn to see TWO MEN IN WHITE COATS holding a straight jacket.