A lot of debate about the Tigers in the early offseason centered on two related questions:
- Should they offer second baseman Placido Polanco arbitration, either for what he brings to the field or for the chance to take advantage of his Type A status, which would net some extra draft picks.
- Would Polanco accept arbitration?
The answers many put forth was this: The Tigers should offer arbitration because Polanco would be worthwhile as a player for another year if he chose to stay in Detroit, but he probably would not accept arbitration.
So some consider failing to make the offer to Polanco a mistake. He signed a three-year deal worth $18 million soon after the decision became final.
MLB.com's Jason Beck today found the possible answer to the second question.
"You know, if they would've offered me arbitration, I probably would've accepted it," Polanco said. "Probably. I didn't know what was out there. Most teams were waiting on that. Most teams wait on that, because the type of free agent I was, they have to give up a Draft pick. So that kind of worked out well for me."
That suggests contract talks with the Phillies really didn't reach a definitive stage until the Tigers decided against arbitration.
Asked if he knew beforehand that the Phils were stepping up, Polanco said, "I had an idea, but nobody really takes a really aggressive step until the decision of arbitration is done."
Interestingly enough, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told Beck in hindsight he would offer arbitration.
Does that change how you view the TIgers' offseason?
As for me, I did not see the decision not to offer arbitration as a bad one. Scott Sizemore was ready to claim the position, and I thought there was a good chance Polanco would accept arbitration. Not that it would necessarily be a bad thing to have Polanco on your team. It wouldn't. He's still an above-average player and a fan favorite. But to me, the decision was the right one for the franchise to make during its transition period.
It's a bit weird seeing Polanco turn double plays against his former team, but I would not change how the Tigers handed the decision.