Ball Star

Here is why Luke Hochevar got a raise

Updated: 2013-01-19T05:38:12Z

By PETE GRATHOFF

The Kansas City Star

Wow, Royals fans voiced their displeasure Friday when the Royals came to terms with pitcher Luke Hochevar.

Hochevar is getting a raise in excess of $1 million after a terrible 2012 season (8-16, 5.73 ERA) as he avoids arbitration with the Royals.

Here are a couple of quick thoughts on the subject.

First, baseball owners did this to themselves. In the early 1970s, they allowed salary arbitration in a new labor deal with players. In very basic terms, it allows some players to get a raise in salary from the previous season.

It doesn’t matter if a pitcher finished say, 8-16 with a 5.73 ERA. He can file for arbitration. The player and the team propose salary figures and an arbitrator picks between the two sides. A bump in salary is all but guaranteed.

So you knew if the Royals kept Hochevar, he would be getting a raise.

Aha, you say. But why keep Hochevar? Well, the Royals were rumored to be shopping him this winter. A deal obviously never was completed.

OK, why not just release Hochevar?

Well, why cut a guy who had a 2.12 ERA with 87 strikeouts in 106 innings last season? That's the rub. Those were his numbers in 16 of his 32 starts.

The other 16 starts? Hochevar had a 10.55 ERA.

Yikes.

The Royals obviously believe the former No. 1 overall pick can harness the talent he has shown in flashes. Perhaps if Hochevar wins the No. 5 spot in the rotation (no guarantee) this spring, he will feel less pressure and show more consistency.

To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to pgrathoff@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/pgrathoff

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