Tomorrow is the last day that teams can offer free agents arbitration. You know the deal, teams can get draft pick compensation by offering Type-A or B free agents arbitration if they reject it and sign somewhere else. If they aren’t offered arbitration it doesn’t matter where they sign, no draft pick compensation is awarded.
They typically don’t offer arbitration to anyone that they don’t want back because the risk is that the player can accept and the Yankees get stuck with them. Because of this – Berkman, Wood, and Vazquez will almost definitely not be offered arbitration.
At first I thought that since Berkman forced the Yankees to not pick up his $15 million option for next season they should offer him arbitration, but since then the Astros have made it known that they don’t want him back in 2011. That changes things as Berkman may decide to accept arbitration so he can at least get a big payday next year if he can’t go back home.
Also, things have changed with Vazquez a bit too. About a month ago the idea to offer him arbitration seemed silly, but now it seems it may not be so silly. The reason is because he’s actually received a lot of attention this offseason. The Dodgers, Nationals, Marlins, Rockies, and possibly even other teams have expressed interest in him and word is that he’s looking for a multi-year deal. With all of this attention he’s getting it doesn’t seem like he’ll have trouble finding a job and would reject arbitration if the Yankees offered it. It’s risky, but the Yankees might want to take that risk. They probably won’t though.
Wood’s situation is a simple one, the Yankees would like him back, but if they offer him arbitration they’ll be stuck paying an injury prone setup man over $10 million next year. Pass.
Finally there are the Type-A guys Jeter, Pettitte, and Rivera. None of them are going anywhere so this isn’t really that big of a deal. The Yankees should probably offer them each of them arbitration just in case though. They got burned by Roger Clemens after 2003 because they assumed he would retire.
There is also the case that if Jeter accepts arbitration they would end up paying him a lot more next season than they are looking to. The upside would be that the Yankees could keep him on a one year deal though.
I would like to see the Yankees take a risk here, but my guess is that they end up offering arbitration to all of the Type-A’s and none of the Type-B’s.