Compare and contrast these two young baseball players, both in the same boat experience wise, in how they cope with their weak bargaining positions regarding contracts. First, Prince Fielder:
The Milwaukee Brewers renewed the slugger's contract for $670,000 on Sunday after he finished third in NL MVP voting last season, when he made $415,000.And second, Jonathan Papelbon:
"I'm not happy about it at all," Fielder said. "The fact I've had to be renewed two years in a row, I'm not happy about it because there's a lot of guys who have the same amount of time that I do who have done a lot less and are getting paid a lot more."
Jonathan Papelbon may be young, but he knows how the business of baseball works.It's obvious Papelbon is the wiser of the two. Papelbon knows full well he can't do anything about his contract, the collective bargaining agreement between the owners and union exclude him from the negotiation process, so he'll concentrate on being the most dominant closer in the game, knowing full well come arbitration time he'll get his money one way or the other.
He knows that, with a little more than two years of major-league service time, he has no contractual leverage with the Red Sox. Not yet eligible for arbitration, Papelbon has little recourse at the bargaining table.
But he also has a benchmark for what he should be paid in 2008, and if the Red Sox don’t come close to his figure, he would rather they renew him at a lower salary figure, without further negotiation.
Fielder, on the other hand, needs to take a reality check.