Once again the Yankees have offered none of their free agents arbitration and once again I think it was the right move.
It’s very tempting to want to offer the likes of Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, and Xavier Nady arbitration in hopes of acquiring extra draft picks when they leave; however, it is no sure bet that those players would actually leave. All three would definitely get more in arbitration, per year, than they will in whatever deal they sign on the open market. Obviously they could command multi-year offers, but let’s face it: chances are none of them will sign for more than two years anyways.
It should be said too that I love following the draft and I love watching the Yankees stock their farm system. I want them to get those picks. I tried talking myself into offering arbitration to Damon and Matsui. Even if they accept, it’s only a one year commitment, and that’s exactly what the Yankees want anyways.
The thing is though, the amount they would be potentially overpaying those players is not offset by the potential for draft picks. Both Damon and Matsui are coming off strong seasons and would command at least $14 million in arbitration, if not more. I think Damon will barely get more than that for 2 seasons and Matsui almost certainly won’t.
And here’s the thing about the draft: putting a few million dollars into it is quite possibly better than having the extra picks. The Yankees can use that money to go over slot on a few more guys and have change to spare. So in the end, the Yankees are doing well to protect their resources.