Starting tonight, teams will decide whether or not to tender arbitration offers to their free agents. A non-tender means that a guy can walk without draft pick compensation. In the past there wasn’t a lot of risk to offering guys arbitration because most of them wanted to test the market. It’s a lot tougher out there for a free agent these days, however, so a lot of dudes may very well accept a team’s offer, putting the team on the hook for millions to a guy they’d just as soon see walk away. In other words, it’s the only place in baseball where gambling is still allowed.
Today Tim Dierkes at MLB Trade Rumors predicts, player by player, who he thinks will and wont get arb offers. I think he’s right on most of them, and to the extent I disagree, they are mere quibbles, based more on what I think teams should do as opposed to what they will do. For example, he has the Giants offering Bengie Molina arbitration. They might just do that. But based on how many catchers have signed so far, I can’t help but think that Molina may just take the damn offer and stick the Giants with him.
Likewise Orlando Hudson, to whom Tim has the Dodgers not making an offer. His season may have ended poorly, but he’s valuable, right? I have to think that the Dodgers believe that someone will want him, thus rendering an offer a relatively low-risk proposition.
Anyway, check out Tim’s list. It’s a nice time-killer on a slow news day.
The Arizona Fall League competition came to a close on Saturday, concluding with the Peoria Javelinas’ 8-2 win over the Mesa Solar Sox for the championship title. No one stood out more than Braves’ no. 1 prospect Ronald Acuna, who took home honors as the AFL MVP after slashing .325/.414/.639 with a league-leading seven home runs and second-best 1.053 OPS in 83 at-bats.
At just 19 years old, Acuna is the youngest prospect to receive the award. He made his presence felt even before he suited up for the AFL, earning promotions to the Braves’ Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett and batting a remarkable .325/.374/.522 with 21 home runs across three levels in 2017.
Acuna was also a major factor in the Javelinas’ win on Saturday, but he wasn’t the first to make some noise. The Solar Sox got to right-hander T.J. Zeuch in the first inning, leading off with three singles and a run-scoring sac fly to get a 2-0 edge over the Javelinas. It was the only lead they’d get all afternoon and it lasted just two innings. Luis Urias snapped the shutout with a sac fly in the bottom of the second inning, and the Javelinas took the lead with a game-tying RBI single from Acuna and two-run base hit from Braves’ no. 16 prospect Alex Jackson in the third.
From then on, it was smooth sailing for Peoria. Andrew Case, Andres Munoz and Art Warren combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, while the offense tacked on another handful of runs with Acuna’s fourth-inning two-RBI single and Michael Chavis’ eighth-inning triple. With runners at the corners and one out, the Solar Sox lifted right-hander Dakota Bacus for fellow righty Nolan Blackwood. Even he was flummoxed by Acuna, however, who grabbed hold of the first pitch he saw and returned another sac fly to center field for the Javelinas’ eighth and final run of the game.
Only 131 days left until Opening Day, folks.