Tuesday, December 1, 2009
With a hat tip to RAB, Joel Sherman tweets that the Yankees have declined to offer arbitration to any of their free agents. While this makes perfect sense for unclassified free agents such as Hideki Matsui, Eric Hinske, Jerry Hairston Jr, and Jose Molina, not offering arbitration to Johnny Damon, Andy Pettitte, and Xavier Nady means that the Yankees will not receive draft pick compensation if any of them sign elsewhere.
I can understand the Yankees' thought process here, though as I stated previously, I think it was worth the risk to offer arbitration to Damon. That said, the Yankees had the market figured perfectly last year in declining offers to Pettitte, Bobby Abreu, and Jason Giambi.
Nothing is settled as a result of this. Pettitte will almost assuredly be in the Bronx if he chooses to play next year, and I still think that Damon and the Yankees make the most sense for each other. Nady is likely gone, but not offering him arbitration doesn't preclude him from coming back if that's what both parties want.
Damon now becomes a more attractive candidate to other teams, as they are free to sign him without surrendering a draft pick. This likely won't impact the Yankees at all, as their refusal to offer him arbitration indicates that they have a dollar amount in mind for Damon and they're not going to exceed that be it in arbitration or on the open market. What it does signal though is that if the Yankees are truly interested in bringing Damon back, they are apparently willing to offer at least an option year if not a guaranteed second year. It's highly unlikely that Damon will be accept a one year contract on the open market, and arbitration was the club's best bet to ensure keeping him for one year and one year only.
We'll be back in the morning with a run down of who amongst the Type A's was offered arbitration and how it might impact the Yankees free agent shopping.