Ross Ohlendorf and the Pittsburgh Pirates grabbed the honor for participating in the first arbitration hearing in 2011 yesterday in Phoenix. Ohlendorf is seeking a raise from $439,000 to $2,025,000. The Pirates countered with an offer of $1,400,000 establishing a midpoint of $1,712,500. The arbitration panel consisted of three veteran arbitrators, Robert Herzog, Fredric Horowitz, and Steven Wolf.
The Pirates’ pitcher is a Super Two and a graduate of Princeton. While at Princeton, Ohlendorf wrote a thesis titled “Investing in Prospects: A Look at the Financial Successes of Major League Baseball Rule IV Drafts from 1989 to 1993.” Ohlendorf finished 2010 with two years and 139 days of service time. The cutoff this year was two years and 122 days.
Ohlendorf was 1-11 last year in his 21 starts for Pittsburgh. The lone win was against the Philadelphia Phillies on July 2 at PNC Park. Ohlendorf pitched a total of seven innings, giving up five hits with eight strikeouts and one walk. Joel Hanrahan pitched the eighth inning and Octavio Dotel picked up his 18th save with a spotless ninth inning. Ohlendorf did not pitch after August 23 when the Pirates decided to shut him down after he strained a muscle in his throwing shoulder. Ohlendorf also missed some time in April due to a back injury.
Ohlendorf was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth round of the 2004 draft. He was traded by the Diamondbacks on January 9, 2007, along with Alberto Gonzalez, Steven Jackson and Luis Vizcaino to the Yankees for Randy Johnson and cash. He made his debut with the Yankees later that year and pitched in six games. After pitching in 25 games with a 1-1 record and a 6.53 ERA, he was sent on July 26, 2008, by the Yankees along with Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen, and Jose Tabata to the Pirates for Damaso Marte and Xavier Nady. Ohlendorf lost three games with no wins in five games for the Pirates. He managed to give up 36 hits in 22 and 2/3 innings while walking 12 and striking out 13. He ended up with a 2.118 WHIP! In 2009, however, he had an 11-10 record with a 3.92 ERA in 29 games started with 176 2/3 innings pitched and 109 strikeouts compared to 53 walks. His WHIP was 1.234.
His career statistics are 13 wins and 25 losses, 4.40 ERA, 86 games, 55 games started, 354 innings pitched, 362 hits allowed, 48 home runs allowed, 130 walks, 246 strikeouts, and a 1.390 WHIP.
Here is a list of the other Super Two pitchers for this year - Burke Badenhop, Florida Marlins (RHP-RP), Dana Eveland, Los Angeles Dodgers after the Pittsburgh Pirates failed to tender him (LHP-SP), Armando Galarraga, Arizona Diamondbacks via trade from the Detroit Tigers (RHP-SP), Luke Hochevar, Kansas City Royals (RHP-SP), Jim Johnson, Baltimore Orioles (RHP-RP), Kyle Kendrick, Philadelphia Phillies (RHP-SP), Jensen Lewis, Cleveland Indians (RHP-RP), Darren O'Day, Texas Rangers (RHP-RP), Felipe Paulino, Houston Astros (RHP-SP), Chris Perez, Cleveland Indians (RHP-CL), Sean White, Colorado Rockies after the Seattle Mariners failed to tender him (RHP-RP), and Brad Ziegler, Oakland A's(RHP-RP).
The one name on the list that jumps off the page to me as a comparable is Felipe Paulino. In 14 starts last year, Paulino had a 5.11 ERA and a 1-9 record. He was traded by the Astros to Colorado for Clint Barmes on November 18, 2010. He signed with the Rockies for $790,000 on January 18, 2011. His career statistics are 6 wins and 21 losses, 5.83 ERA, 47 games, 34 games started, 208 1/3 innings pitched, 243 hits allowed, 29 home runs allowed, 90 walks, 187 strikeouts, and a 1.598 WHIP. So, his career statistics are generally below those of Ohlendorf because he has pitched less. However, the Pirates could use Paulino to support their figure.
I will detail a bit more in the comments section including the historical figures for the three arbitrators. I think that they will have a hard time choosing Ohlendorf’s figure because of the win-loss record last year and the injuries.