Washington Nationals' reliever Brian Bruney joined Sirius/XM Power Alley hosts Seth Everett and Jim Duquette this afternoon to discuss the arbitration process he just went through which resulted in the 28-year-old right-hander being awarded the $1.5M dollar one-year deal the team had offered as opposed to the $1.85M Bruney was asking for after going (5-0) with a 3.92 ERA (109 ERA+, 5.10 FIP) and 36 K's (8.3 K/9) over 44 games and 39.0 IP for which he was paid $1.25M by the NY Yankees in his 6th MLB season in 2009...
Before the arbitrators' decision even came down, Washington Post writer Dave Sheinin wrote, in an article at the Post's Nationals Journal entitled, "Panera, Bruney, 99 Problems", that Bruney, "...said it was "an ugly process" that was "not the ideal way" to start a relationship with a new franchise," and from the sound of today's interview, the effects of the arbitration process are lingering...
Seth Everett: How does it feel to be a National? Do you want to be the closer? How's Spring Training?
Brian Bruney: "It feels good to be a National, but again, it doesn't matter to me. For the longest time I've tried to say the right things, I've tried to do the right things, and I've been a consumate professional my whole career. I learned the game from old school players and that's the kind of player I am. But, you know, it's nice to be appreciated and it's nice to (know) that the people care about you and you know Washington traded for me, they wanted me over here, and unfortunately we had to go to an arbitration case hearing, there's no hard feelings, I understand...you know I think those are the famous last words of every team that goes in there to tell the player, 'Hey, no hard feelings.'"
Jim Duquette: Give us your impression of (the arbitration process)?
Brian Bruney: "I don't think it should ever go that far. You know, that was my first experience with it, and I don't think from a player's standpoint, that should never go...As a team, if you're concerned about what your players think about the organization and keeping them happy and wanting to be there, it should never go to arbitration, because it is an ugly thing. You're going to hear things that you know about yourself, but nobody's ever said to you. I was aware of my faults, I really, one of my big faults and I knew this going in, was a lot of DL time, and that has nothing to do with the kind of person I am, it has nothing to do with how hard I've worked throughout my career, and it's an unfortunate situation that I have been (hurt), but that hasn't taken away from what I've done on the field, and I'll be honest with you, it's never about money with me. I'm a firm believer in you pay a man an honest paycheck for an honest hard living. That's just the way I was raised, my parents raised me that way, and if I didn't feel like I was worth what I asked for I wouldn't have been there. I don't want any money given to me that's not rightfully mine, and so that's why we were there...and also the principle of setting the bar for the players that come behind me. I love baseball, I respect the game as much as anybody and I understand uh....What it means to me is probably different than a lot of people, I'm not only fighting for myself, I'm fighting for those guys that are going to be arbitration next year, that are going to be in situations like I was in...and like I said, obviously they came to a conclusion that the team was right, and I totally accept that. I'm over it. It might not sound like it, but believe me I'm looking forward to getting to work for the Washington Nationals. I loved my time in New York. I had a great time, but I'm wearing a Washington Nationals jersey here, now, and that's who I'm going to work for. That's not gonna change my attitude on the field, that's not going to change anything about how hard I work..."
Jim Duquette: You get traded to the Nationals, I think it's a great opportunity for you...Have they talked to you guys about who's going to get the closer's role?
Brian Bruney: "No, and you know, to be honest with you guys, I think part of me has changed since that arbitration meeting...I know, you know, things get used against you that you don't even realize, and one of the things that I've always prided myself on was always saying the right things, I know I've made some mistakes in my life and said some things that I shouldn't have, I mean that's a whole 'nother story, I'm sure you guys know what I'm talking about, but uh, I've always tried to say the right things to the media, you know, step in front of the mirror, take the heat when I've done bad. When I've done good, applaud those around me for their efforts, and that's why I was good or whatever it is, but I'm kinda just over that, man. And to be honest with you to answer your question, I know I went around there, but this is kinda the reason I was going to give you the answer is, I honestly don't care, I really don't. I'm here to go to work, man, and these people know what I can do, you guys know what I can do, everyone that plays baseball knows what I can do. I'm a very confident person because I work hard and I know I deserve to do good when I am out there, so that's going to take care of itself. If I'm the closer, I'm the closer, if I'm not, I'm not. Do I want to do it? Of course, I mean who wouldn't, but I'm not going to lobby for myself, I'm not going to do anything like that. I'm going to go out there and do my thing, and if you want me as your closer than (do it). You know, me saying anything about it's not going to help the situation, so, you know, (Matt) Capps is a pretty good pitcher himself, and we were actually at the gym together, so I mean neither of us...both of us are pretty confident that whoever does do it is going to do a good job and we'll be happy to give them the ball in the ninth, so whatever happens, happens, man. I know we're going to have a better team than they've had. A lot of guys look good and I'm excited about the way the team's gone...The Lerner family has done well, and (DC GM Mike) Rizzo's done well in getting us a lot of guys that can help the team, so as a National or a Nationals fan, or just a baseball fan, I think you've got to be pretty excited about, you know, not seeing the Nationals lose 100 games again, I guess."