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Offering Polanco arbitration isn't a risk worth taking

Nov 28, 2009, 11:14 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for placido polanco.jpgLynn Henning of the Detroit News guesses
that the Tigers will offer arbitration to Fernando Rodney, Brandon Lyon
and even Placido Polanco before Tuesday’s deadline

While Rodney and Lyon — both Type B free agents — are risks Dave
Dombrowski can afford on the off-chance they return, Polanco — a Type
A free agent — simply isn’t.

Polanco, 34, batted .285/.331/.396
with 10 home runs and 72 RBI in 2009, winning his second Gold Glove
earlier this month. He made $4.6 million last season and figures to
make somewhere between $6-7 million this winter.

If the Tigers offer Polanco
arbitration, a team would have to surrender two draft picks in order to
sign him. This may severely limit Polanco’s list of potential suitors
enough to paint general manager Dave Dombrowski into a corner for another year. Not the
best idea with the team trying to show restraint with their payroll. The
Tigers already have 24-year-old prospect Scott Sizemore ready to take the
starting second base job in 2010, so while the two draft picks are
enticing, it just wouldn’t be very wise.

Expect the Tigers to let him walk on Tuesday.

  1. notsodumbbrowski - Nov 28, 2009 at 1:57 PM

    Salaries granted through the arbitration process are non-guaranteed though, so the Tigers may offer it to him to provide some insurance in case Sizemore’s return from his broken ankle doesn’t go as planned. If he’s ready though they can release Polanco during spring training and only owe him a prorated portion of his salary.

  2. hk - Nov 29, 2009 at 8:40 AM

    The point of offering him arbitration is to get draft choices for him when he signs elsewhere. If they offer, they better be pretty sure that he won’t accept. Even in the back-up plan that notsodumbbrowski describes, Polanco accepting would cost the team approximately $1M (1/6 of the $6M that he’d likely receive in arb) and they’d lose him to free agency without getting the draft choices.

  3. hk - Nov 29, 2009 at 8:47 AM

    I’d also be concerned about Lyon accepting. Following last season where he made $4.25M and posted a nice ERA (2.86 vs. 4.20 for his career) and knowing that ERA is a key stat in the arbitration process, the Tigers could end up paying $5M plus for a set-up reliever with a career 4.20 ERA who’s .229 BABIP last year is probably not sustainable.
    I think that this offseason, we are going to see the agents turn the tables on the owners – having learned from the Juan Cruz situation last year – and accept arbitration for a lot of players who might take pay cuts or not get raises in free agency. Brandon Lyon is one of those examples. This guy looks to be worth $5M to $6M for 2 years in free agency, but maybe $5M plus for 1 year in arbitration.

  4. Garland Lamos - Feb 13, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    I saw this really great post today, found it on yahoo. i think i may return soon.

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