The Tigers have until midnight, tonight, to decide whether to offer arbitration to free agents Magglio Ordonez and Wilson Betemit. Should the Tigers offer arbitration and the players sign with another club, the Tigers would then receive an additional draft pick in the supplemental round between the first and second rounds in next June's amateur draft. Dave Dombrowski has said that it is unlikely that the Tigers would be bringing Ordonez back for the 2012 season, and that the club was unlikely to pursue Betemit, at least in the early stages of the off season. If arbitration is offered, players have until Dec. 7 to decide whether to accept or decline the offer.
Realistically, the Tigers will not offer arbitration to Ordonez unless there is a "gentlemens' agreement" that he will decline the offer so that the club could receive compensation upon his departure. There is a chance that Betemit will receive an arbitration offer if the Tigers would be happy to have him back on a reasonable one year contract, as an alternative to Brandon Inge and Don Kelly at third base. Betemit is probably the most potent offensive third base option on the free agent market this winter, with the exception of the Cubs' Aramis Ramirez.
The incentive to offer compensation and add a supplemental draft pick has been diminished under the terms of the new CBA that were announced on Tuesday. Under the new rules, clubs have overall spending limits on the amount that they can invest in draft bonuses. In the past, the Tigers have used the supplemental first round to draft Nick Castellanos, who is the top rated position prospect in the organization. Castellanos required an "over slot" bonus payment to forego college and join the Tiger organization.Other notable arbitration decisions to watch include whether clubs will offer arbitration to Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Roy Oswalt, CJ Wilson, Jose Reyes, David Ortiz, and Jimmy Rollins. Those seven, in addition to Jonathan Papelbon who has already signed with the Phillies, are the only players that will require their new clubs to give up a draft choice as compensation for signing them under the terms of the new CBA. Most are expected to be offered arbitration as they are sure to seek lucrative multi year contracts through free agency.
The Tigers would be free to pursue Toronto second baseman Kelly Johnson, or any other free agent player without having to give up a draft pick, as they had to give up when they signed free agents such as Victor Martinez and Jose Valverde in recent years. Clubs can receive compensation for other free agent players that are classified as Type A and Type B under the terms of the expiring CBA, by offering arbitration, if the player declines and signs with another club. In those cases, the signing club would not have to give up any compensation to sign the player. A complete list of this year's free agents is here.