Good morning Fackers. Well, here we are, December 1st. The first month since March in which there won't be a Major League Baseball game played. While that's a depressing thought to ponder as Old Man Winter settles in, this morning at least we can take some solace in knowing that we're less than a day away from entering the next stage of the Hot Stove League.
Midnight tonight is the deadline for clubs to offer arbitration to their own free agents. The Yankees have three such decisions to make: on Type A free agent Johnny Damon and Type B free agents Andy Pettitte and Xavier Nady. Clubs forfeit draft pick compensation for players to whom they do not offer arbitration. Losing a Type B free agent yields a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds; losing a Type A pick yields a supplemental pick plus the top draft pick of the team that signs the free agent.
The top 16 picks of next year's draft are protected from compensation, so if one of those teams signs a Type A they forfeit their second round pick rather than their first. Teams signing multiple Type A's surrender multiple picks, as we saw with the Yankees losing their first, second, and third round picks last year for signing Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett respectively. In the event such a situation arises, the team that loses the player with the higher Elias ranking gets the higher pick from the signing team.
Two weeks ago we examined the issues surrounding offering arbitration to Johnny Damon. Andy Pettitte likely won't be offered but will almost assuredly be back if he elects to keep playing. If Xavier Nady is healthy he presenrs a good trade chip or an affordable and attractive OF/DH/bench option, but coming off his second Tommy John surgery that's a mighty big "if" for around $8M.
Yesterday MLBTR offered their arbitration predictions, forecasting that the Yankees would decline to offer arbitration to all three. Meanwhile, Dave Cameron at Fangraphs explained that teams have to weigh the arbitration offer not only against the fair market value of a player but also the probability that he'll accept and what the compensation picks would be worth to the club. While our post on Damon takes into account the value of the draft picks and the fair market value, The Yankee Universe brought up a salient point about the probability of accepting: Boras clients rarely accept arbitration as Boras is hellbent on taking them to market for a multiyear deal. It's unlikely that Damon, who wants a multiyear deal, will accept arbitration and forego his right to free agency. It may be well worth the risk to offer arbitration to Damon; we'll soon find out.
Either way, we're not very far off from business picking up in the Hot Stove League.