TULANE BASEBALL ARBITRATION COMPETITION BRIEF FOR THE TEXAS RANGERS. Team 20

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1 TULANE BASEBALL ARBITRATION COMPETITION BRIEF FOR THE TEXAS RANGERS Team 20 1

2 Table of Contents I. Introduction...3 II. Nelson Cruz s Contribution during Last Season Favors the Rangers $4.7 Million Offer...4 III. Nelson Cruz Has Had an Inconsistent and Injury-Riddled Career...5 IV. The Rangers Submission of $4.7 Million is in Line with Mr. Cruz s Past Compensation...6 V. Salaries of Comparable Corner Outfielders Favor the Rangers...7 VI. Nelson Cruz s History of Injuries and Advancing Age Favor the $4.7 Million Figure Submitted by the Rangers...11 VII. The Rangers Have Been Successful Without Nelson Cruz in the Lineup

3 I. Introduction Nelson Cruz (hereinafter referred to as Mr. Cruz ) should receive a $4.7 million salary for the 2012 season because that figure better approximates his value to the Texas Rangers ( the Rangers ) than the figure that Mr. Cruz has submitted ($5.3 million). This brief will analyze the statistics and other relevant aspects of Mr. Cruz s playing career, and will demonstrate that the Rangers salary submission is closer to his value to the Rangers. Mr. plays both corner outfield positions for the Rangers, an American League team in Major League Baseball ( MLB ). Pursuant to the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement ( CBA ), the arbitration panel looks to several prescribed factors to determine the more appropriate salary for the 2012 season between the figure that the Rangers have submitted ($4.7 million) and the figure Mr. Cruz has submitted ($5.3 million). If the arbitration panel values the player $1 below the midpoint ($5.0 million) between the Rangers submission and Mr. Cruz s submission, they must choose the Rangers salary figure. 1 Under Article VI, Section F, Part 12, subsections (a)-(b) of the CBA, the arbitration panel must look to (1) the quality of Mr. Cruz s contribution to the Rangers during the 2011 season; (2) the length and consistency of Mr. Cruz s career contribution; (3) the record of Mr. Cruz s past compensation; (4) comparative baseball salaries; (5) the existence of any physical or mental defects on the part of Mr. Cruz; and (6) the recent performance of the Rangers. 2 The panel is not allowed to consider the financial position of the player or the team, any comments made to the press by the player or the team, offers made prior to arbitration, the cost of either party s representation, or salaries from other sports or occupations. 3 1 [1] Ed Edmonds, A Most Interesting Part of Baseball Monetary Structure Salary Arbitration in its Thirty-Fifth Year, 20 Marquette Sports Law Review 1, 33 (2010). 2 MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement, Basic Agreement, Article VI(F) 12(a)-(b) (2007), available at 3 MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement, Basic Agreement, Article VI(F) 12(a)-(b) (2007), available at 3

4 Based on the criteria set by the CBA, the $4.7 million figure proposed by the Rangers is a more appropriate salary for Mr. Cruz for the 2012 season. II. Nelson Cruz s Contribution during Last Season Favors the Rangers $4.7 Million Offer Table 1: Nelson Cruz s 2011 Offensive Statistics 4 Year G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Nelson Cruz s performance in 2011 was his worst since being recalled from the minor leagues at the end of the 2008 season. His batting average was ten points lower than his pre-2011 career mark of His.312 on base percentage ( OBP ) fell well below his pre-2011 career rate of.336 and was 10 points below the American League OBP of A quick glance at his home run and runs batted in ( RBI ) totals suggests that Mr. Cruz was one of the better power hitters in the American League last year, as he ranked 13th 7 and 20th 8 in those figures, respectively. However, even those figures are skewed by the fact that the Rangers home ballpark, where Mr. Cruz plays half of his games, is a haven for scoring runs. Rangers Ballpark at Arlington is the most favorable run-scoring environment in baseball and is the easiest park in which to hit home runs by a sizeable amount. 9 Mr. Cruz s power numbers show that he was helped by his home park. In 2011, in fact, Mr. Cruz hit 19 of his 29 home runs and drove in 56 of his 87 RBIs at Rangers Ballpark. 10 This means that his relative value to the Rangers is lower because a replacement player s numbers would be similarly inflated by the home park Id. 6 Id

5 Further, Mr. Cruz was again hampered by injuries in 2011, a problem throughout his career. In 2011, he played in only 124 of the Rangers 162 games. 11 He was placed on the disabled list twice, missing 19 games for a right quadriceps injury and 12 more games for a left hamstring injury. 12 This likely contributed to his lowest stolen base total (9) since 2008, a season in which he played only 31 MLB games. His injuries also likely led to his worst stolen base percentage (64.3% success rate) since In addition to limiting his contribution to the Rangers, the time Mr. Cruz spent on the disabled list forced the Rangers to replace him in the lineup with less productive players, and thereby reduced the team s likelihood of winning games. III. Nelson Cruz Has Had an Inconsistent and Injury-Riddled Career Table 2: Nelson Cruz s Career Numbers by Season 14 Year G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Nelson Cruz has had an inconsistent career up to this point. His inconsistency is most evident in his batting average and on base percentage, which measure his ability to get hits and his ability to reach base, respectively. In 2006 and 2007, Mr. Cruz struggled at the major league level, failing to post a batting average higher than.235 in either season. 15 In 2008, Mr. Cruz saw his first major league success, albeit in a small number of games. Over 31 games for the Rangers that year, Mr. Cruz batted.330. However, in 2009, his batting average dropped to.260. In 2010, Mr. Cruz s batting average jumped back up to.318, but he played 20 less games due to injuries Id

6 In 2011, Mr. Cruz s batting average plummeted once again to.263. As Table 2 shows, Mr. Cruz s OBP mirrors this up and down level of production. As a result of injuries and inconsistency, it is difficult to assess Mr. Cruz s true ability by pointing to any single season. While Mr. Cruz s production has been inconsistent, his biggest problem has been his inability to stay healthy. Mr. Cruz has played no more than 128 major league games in any single season. 16 In 2009, Mr. Cruz missed three games because of a finger injury and 16 games because of a left ankle sprain. 17 In 2010, Mr. Cruz missed another 36 games due to two separate hamstring injuries, including a stint on the disabled list. 18 In 2011, Mr. Cruz missed 19 games for an injury to his right quadriceps, and another 12 games because of a left hamstring injury. The injuries required separate trips to the disabled list. 19 IV. The Rangers Submission of $4.7 Million is in Line with Mr. Cruz s Past Compensation Table 3: Nelson Cruz s Compensation by Season 20 Year Salary 2007 $382, $398, $408, $440, $3,650,000 Table 3 above shows Nelson Cruz s salaries in each of the last five years. Mr. Cruz was not eligible for arbitration until the 2011 season, in large part because he was not productive enough to accumulate the necessary major league service time, and his salaries from reflect that. During those years, Mr. Cruz earned just above the league minimum. In 2010, Nelson Cruz batted.318, had an OPS of.950, managed to play over 100 games with the Rangers for the second straight year, and was rewarded for that output. 21 In 2011, his FAE, Mr. Cruz was 16 Id Id. 19 Id

7 awarded a salary of $3.65 million, an increase of nearly 830%. 22 Last season, Mr. Cruz did not produce at his 2010 levels. He was placed on the disabled list twice with two different leg injuries 23, missing 31 games, and his batting average and OPS fell to.263 and.821, down from.318 and.950, respectively. 24 Players typically receive a salary raise in their second year of arbitration, and the Rangers submission represents a raise of 28.7%. Mr. Cruz submitted a figure that would represent a 45.2% raise from his 2011 salary. However, Mr. Cruz s 2011 production was deserving of a more modest increase. Thus, the $4.7 million figure submitted by the Rangers is the most appropriate 2012 salary for Nelson Cruz. V. Salaries of Comparable Corner Outfielders Favor the Rangers A comparison of Nelson Cruz to other corner outfielders with similar service time and statistics reveals that Nelson s Cruz value to the Rangers in 2012 is less than the $5.0 million midpoint between the Rangers offer and Mr. Cruz s offer. Mr. Cruz has just over four years of service time, and is eligible for arbitration for the second time in his career. Graph 1: SAE Salary by Games Played in Prior Year: Corner Outfielders Reward Salary (millions of $) $6.000 $5.000 $4.000 $3.000 $2.000 $1.000 $0.000 Reward Salary by Games Played Games Played (Previous Season) Reward Salary ($M) Nelson Cruz (projection) 22 Id The following players are plotted on this graph: Carlos Quentin (2010), Ryan Ludwick (2009), Josh Willingham (2009), Edwin Encarnacion (2009), Cody Ross (2009), Corey Hart (2009), Reggie Willits (2010), Delmon Young (2010), Matt Diaz (2009), Jeremy Hermida (2009), Jonny Gomes (2009), Jeff Francoeur (2009), Scott Hairston (2009), Jose Bautista (2009). Statistics are from 7

8 A hallmark of Mr. Cruz s career has been his inability to stay healthy, and that was again evident in He has never played more than 128 games in a season, and last season he played in only 124 games. 26 Graph 1 above shows that there is a correlation between the number of games played ( GP ) in the previous season and a corner outfielder s corresponding reward salary. This correlation suggests that arbitration panels place an emphasis on the number of GP as a measure of player contribution. A plot of Mr. Cruz s GP along the trend line suggests a 2012 salary award of $3.709 million. This figure is below the Rangers salary submission, and indicates that the Rangers offer is more appropriate than Mr. Cruz s submitted figure. Graph 2: SAE Salary as a Function of RBI in Prior Year: Corner Outfielders Reward Salary (millions of $) $6.000 $5.000 $4.000 $3.000 $2.000 $1.000 $0.000 Reward Salary by Runs Batted In Runs Batted In (Previous Season) Reward Salary ($M) Nelson Cruz (projection) Mr. Cruz s 2011 RBI total is not in line with his salary submission, and shows that the Rangers $4.7 million submission is more appropriate than Mr. Cruz s $5.3 million submission. Graph 2 compares reward salary to the previous season RBI totals for all SAE corner outfielders since There is a high correlation between RBI total and subsequent salary, which makes sense because RBI s are a direct measure of the runs, and therefore the value, produced by a batter in a particular season. According to a recent historical relationship between RBI and salary, Mr. Cruz should be in line for a 2012 salary of $4.572 million based solely on RBI total Players plotted are listed in note 25. 8

9 That figure is well below the $5.0 million midpoint between the two parties offers and even below the Rangers submission of $4.7 million. The Rangers submission, therefore, is the more appropriate compensation figure based on Mr. Cruz s RBI contributions in the 2011 season. Graph 3: SAE Salary by Home Runs in Prior Year: Corner Outfielders Reward Salary (millions of $) $6.000 $5.000 $4.000 $3.000 $2.000 $1.000 $0.000 Nelson Cruz s strongest attribute to the Rangers is his ability to hit home runs, but even based solely on his home run total, the Rangers salary submission is still the most appropriate figure for In 2011, Mr. Cruz hit 29 home runs. Graph 3 plots the previous season home run totals of all SAE corner outfielders in the past three years. Again, there is a strong correlation. Using that relationship, Mr. Cruz projects for a $5.077 million award for However, it is again worth noting that Rangers Ballpark, where Mr. Cruz hit 19 of his 29 home runs, is the easiest park in which to hit home runs in MLB. Mr. Cruz s home run total should not be completely discounted, but even a small discount for Rangers Ballpark lowers the $5.077 million estimate below the midpoint and closer to the Rangers $4.7 million submission. Even though home runs are Mr. Cruz s strongest attribute, the total does not represent a compelling enough argument to warrant a $5.3 million salary. Reward Salary by Home Runs Home Runs (Previous Season) Reward Salary ($M) Nelson Cruz (projection) 28 Players plotted are listed in note 25. 9

10 In 2010, Carlos Quentin had a very similar season to Mr. Cruz s 2011, but Mr. Quentin was the better overall player. Mr. Quentin is a corner outfielder for the Chicago White Sox ( the White Sox ). In 2011, Mr. Quentin and the White Sox avoided arbitration and agreed to a $5.05 million salary for the 2011 season, a number just above the midpoint of the Rangers and Mr. Cruz s submissions. Table 4 below shows the two players contributions. Table 4: Nelson Cruz and Carlos Quentin Statistics: Year Prior to SAE 29 Player Year GP R H 2B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS N. Cruz C. Quentin In the 2010 season, Mr. Quentin posted very similar power numbers to those by Mr. Cruz in Mr. Quentin had the same OPS (.821), same RBI total (87), and a similar number of doubles (25 to 28) and home runs (26 to 29). A quick glance at the numbers suggests that Mr. Cruz should receive at least as much as Mr. Quentin s $5.05 million compensation because of their similar positions as power-hitting corner outfielders. However, Mr. Quentin was the more complete player, with more runs (73 to 64), more walks (50 to 33), fewer strikeouts (83 to 116), and a much higher on-base percentage (.342 to.312) than Mr. Cruz. In addition, although Mr. Quentin played his home games at U.S. Cellular Field, a favorable run-scoring environment, Mr. Cruz plays his home games at Rangers Ballpark, the most favorable run-scoring environment in all of MLB. 30 Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Quentin played more games for his team than Mr. Cruz did (131 to 124). The above numbers show that Mr. Cruz was less valuable than Mr. Quentin, and that his salary should therefore be below the $5.05 million Mr. Quentin received. Thus, his value represents a salary figure lower than the $5.0 million midpoint between the two 29 and

11 parties offers. Therefore, the Rangers $4.7 million submission is the most appropriate compensation for Mr. Cruz for the 2012 season. VI. Nelson Cruz s History of Injuries and Advancing Age Favor the $4.7 Million Figure Submitted by the Rangers As stated above, Mr. Cruz has had a series of injuries throughout his short career. In the last three years alone, he has missed a total of 108 of the Rangers 486 games (22.2 percent) due to injury. 31 Almost all of Mr. Cruz s injuries have been to his legs, and the injuries have tended to linger. In July 2009, Mr. Cruz missed three games because of a finger injury. 32 In late 2009, Mr. Cruz sprained his ankle and missed a total of 18 games. 33 Mr. Cruz then sprained the same ankle in October and missed the last three games of the season saw more of the same, as Mr. Cruz missed a total of 52 games due to injury. 35 In late April, he injured his right hamstring and missed 16 games. 36 In late May, Mr. Cruz reinjured the hamstring and missed another 21 games, and in August he again re-injured his hamstring, missing another 15 games. 37 In 2011, Mr. Cruz missed yet another 34 games to injury. 38 He was out for 17 games in May and two games in September with a right quadriceps injury and missed two games in late July for a left quadriceps injury. He then lost 13 games in September to a hamstring injury. 39 Mr. Cruz s leg injuries have had a noticeable effect on his performance, most clearly in his stolen base totals and in his fielding percentage. Mr. Cruz saw his stolen bases drop from Id. 34 Id Id

12 to 17 to 9 from 2009 to In addition, he was caught stealing more often in 2011 than in any other year (5 times) 41 a sign that Mr. Cruz s injuries have taken away some of his speed. Mr. Cruz s leg injuries may have also affected his ability to field his position. His fielding percentage has dropped over the last three years, from.987 to.981 to As a result of Mr. Cruz s inconsistent performance and the late start to his major league career, he is old for his service class. Although Mr. Cruz has spent parts of seven seasons in the major leagues, he has just over four years of service time. As a result, he will be 32 years old during the 2012 season although he is only in his second year of arbitration eligibility. Mr. Cruz is entering the years of his career when most players performance tends to decline 43, and this will likely have an effect on his future performance. VII. The Rangers Have Been Successful Without Nelson Cruz in the Lineup The Rangers have been successful in the past three seasons, but they have been more successful without Nelson Cruz in the lineup. From , the Rangers had a record and.555 winning percentage with Mr. Cruz in the lineup, but had a record and.579 winning percentage without him. 44 The Rangers have been successful, but it is difficult to credit much of that success to Mr. Cruz because of the Rangers record without him Id. 42 Id

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