Yesterday was the deadline for teams to offer outgoing free agents arbitration. The decisions (not including obvious ones like Lance Berkman not being offered) that could affect the Chicago Cubs are as follows:
Carlos Pena, Kevin Millwood, Matt Guerrier, and Kerry Wood were not offered arbitration. Each made much more money in 2010 than they’re expected to make in 2011 (with the possible exception of Guerrier), so an offer of arbitration probably would have been a deathknell to the Cubs’ pursuit (that is to say, the players would have accepted arbitration and received a slight raise). Expect to see these names mentioned in connection with Cubs rumors frequently going forward.
Relievers Grant Balfour and Jason Frasor were offered arbitration. Each is a Type A free agent, which means that, if the Cubs sign one of them (please not Frasor), they would give up their second round pick to do so.
At first base, Adam Dunn was offered arbitration, but he is increasingly not considered a part of the Cubs’ plans. Adam LaRoche was also offered arbitration on his 2010 salary of $7.05 million, which is a fairly substantial blow to the Cubs – but not because of his Type status, because he’s just a Type B (which would cost the Cubs nothing to sign). The problem: unless LaRoche is really, really itching to get out of Arizona, the Cubs will have to top what he’d receive in arbitration (around $7.5 million) in order to sign him. It seems unlikely that the Cubs would be willing to go as high as $8 million for LaRoche.
Javier Vazquez – a hot rumor of late – was offered arbitration by the Yankees, which took most folks by surprise. Vazquez, a Type B free agent, had a crummy year last year while he made $11.5 million. With a raise in arbitration, the Yankees could be on the hook for some $12+ million in 2011, and other teams would have to spend a whole lot of money to land the righty. There is word, however, that Vazquez has a hand-shake agreement with the Yankees not to accept arbitration, which will ensure the Yankees a compensatory pick when he departs via free agency.
This kind of back-room dealing is not uncommon, and although it doesn’t cost another team a pick, it does (arguably unfairly) give the Yankees another draft pick. You’ve got to believe that the Yankees approached Kerry Wood about doing the same – given that the Yankees did not offer Wood arbitration, he clearly declined (or, the team simply wants to try and re-sign Wood at a reduced rate, but hey, that’s less saucy).