Players union chief: Rays policy stands purpose of arbitration "on its head"
New players union chief Michael Weiner not only disputed Tampa Bay executive VP Andrew Friedman’s “nickel theory” that the players union put pressure on agents this year in their dealings with teams such as the Rays that have a filing day deadline to settle their arbitration cases, but said the Rays strategy runs against the purpose of the arbitration process, which is to settle cases.
“The union does not put pressure on agents or players with respect to salary arbitration,’’ Weiner told the Times. “We consult with respect to all arbitration negotiations just as we expect the commissioner’s office would do with the clubs.
“With respect to the file-to-go strategy, or the file-and-trial strategy, the union has long believed, and has expressed to the commissioner’s office, that that strategy stands the purpose of salary arbitration on its head. Years ago, many clubs took the view that it didn’t make sense to talk until after we exchanged numbers, and to say that we won’t talk if you exchange numbers in our view is not consistent with the way the system was designed to operate. But clubs are entitled to negotiate as they see fit.’’
The Rays have employed the policy, which they feel spurs settlements and avoids settlements at artificial midpoints between the filed numbers, with relative success, and are heading to just their fourth hearing (with CF B.J. Upton) in five years under Friedman.