Today marks the final day for teams to decide whether to offer free agent players arbitration. Offering arbitration does not guarantee a player will be back the following year, but it guarantees a team will receive extra draft picks for any Type A or Type B free agents who decline the offer.
The Tigers have a few players they could offer arbitration for, but none they should:
- Gerald Laird (B) -- Do I even need to write about this one? He was paid nearly $4 million in 2010 to hit a .207 average with .263 on-base percentage and .304 slugging. Obviously a catcher's primary job is to squat behind the plate and try not to get hit too hard in the irreplaceables. Players have to be offered at least 80 percent of their last salary. So that means if he accepted arbitration he'd be paid at least $3.2 million to create outs, both the good and the bad kinds. He's not going to be offered and he shouldn't be anyway.
- Johnny Damon (B) -- Again, this one is a no doubter. Damon is not going to be offered arbitration. The Tigers could really use his on-base percentage near the top of the lineup, but not at a minimum of $6.4 million and probably more.
Magglio Ordonez (A) -- I guess for some people this one is the tough one. There's plenty of reasons you'd want to see Ordonez in Detroit next year. He's popular. He was their second-best batter this year and had a really nice season: .303 average, .378 OBP, .474 SLG. I mean, if you don't want that back on the Tigers you're crazy. The main problem is that he'll be coming off the broken ankle injury. Offering him arbitration pretty much guarantees he accepts, because he'll be guaranteed $15 million or so -- $14.4 million to be exact. That's more than he could expect to make in a season anywhere else, and agent Scott Boras would use it to his advantage in trying to negotiate a multi-year deal. But it also guarantees a pretty good batter stays with the team on a one-year contract, allowing the Tigers to postpone making any long term decisions about who should be standing in the outfield. So I definitely see that argument. I just don't think it's the right decision.
As for the other free agents, well they're not going to be offered arbitration anyway, either.
So prediction time: Detroit offers no one arbitration.
What do you think happens?