Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Arbitration D-Day

The arbitration deadline has passed. We now know who will be eligible for compensation.

Some high profile omissions are Carlos Delgado, Jeff Kent, and Magglio Ordonez.

I think this is a mistake with Ordonez. His upside is worth the risk of a less than healthy player at the price he'd command through arbitration. I'm also of the opinion that he's a good comeback candidate.

Delgado is understandable since the price of arbitration to Toronto would be enormous, and they're not likely to contend next year, which would make having a player of Delgado's expense and age a bit of a handicap rather than an asset.

With Kent, it is another calculated risk. It opens up an opportunity for Chris Burke to win the second base job in Houston outright. He won't be Jeff Kent, but he'll be a good leadoff hitter, and a more than competent second baseman.

On a related note, we're seeing more signings that result in compensation picks. This is an update of our earlier compensation review.

The Yankees are close to signing Jaret Wright to a bloated three year deal. If they do ink him, they give their first round pick to the Braves, who also get a sandwich pick.

The Cubs inexplicably gave Henry Blanco a two year deal just hours before the arbitration deadline. Blanco is a type B free agent, and would result in Chicago's first round pick going to Minnesota.

Finally, the Phillies signed Jon Lieber to a three year contract after the Yankees offered Lieber arbitration. He's a type B free agent as well. That gives the Phillies first round pick to the Yanks.

So here's an updated list with the information I have at this moment.

First Round: The 17th Overall pick goes from the Phillies to the Yanks for Jon Lieber
22nd overall pick goes from SF to Florida for Benitez
29th pick goes from the Cubs to the Twins for Henry Blanco

Compensatory First Round: 31st overall pick goes to Florida for Benitez
32nd pick goes to Colorado for Vinny Castilla
33rd pick goes to Oakland for Damian Miller
34th pick goes to Cleveland for Omar Vizquel
35th pick goes to Baltimore for Wade Townsend

Second Round: 39th Overall pick goes from Washington to Colorado for Vinny Castilla
40th pick goes from Milwaukee to Oakland for Damian Miller
51st pick goes from San Francisco to Cleveland for Omar Vizquel

Third Round: 69th Overall pick goes from Washington to Minnesota for Christian Guzman

I haven't included Jaret Wright because his signing isn't official yet. When he does officially sign with the Yankees, the Braves get the 29th pick in the draft, and the 35th pick, and everything starting with Baltimore's sandwich pick slides down a peg. Then again, I don't think anybody expects the Yankees to NOT sign another (presumably higher ranked) type A free agent, which would mean that the Braves would get the Yankees second round pick instead of their first rounder. Still, don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

Blanco was a terrible signing simply because he isn't worth giving multiple years and a draft pick.

Wright's reported deal is more money than is advisable, and amazingly a three year deal. He's a one year gamble at best. I'd say there's at least a 50/50 chance that this one is cited as a primary reason why the Yankees don't win the 2005 World Series. It is another demonstration why the Yankees AREN'T the lock to win the World Series as they are reported to be every single year. Spending your money wisely is still more important than the volume of money you have to spend.

The Yanks also reportedly gave a two year deal to Tony Womack. That's another awful move. As long as the Evil Empire is willing to carry around half a roster full of dead weight, the Red Sox will have a fighting chance in the east.

Jon Lieber's deal is more than I had anticipated, but along the lines of what you can expect given the other dollar figures that have been thrown around.

This season's free agent market has been very different from what we found last season. We haven't seen the kind of low commitment contracts we saw last season with players like Reggie Sanders and Jose Guillen. Teams are spend much more freely than last season. It will be interesting to see if this continues.

Update: Leone for Third has a pair of nice posts on the free agent market.

The first is a list of players who were offered arbitration and their Elias ranking.

The second is on the rising cost of the free agent market. Go read the posts. LFT does good work.

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