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.
Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:
The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.
The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.
I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.
In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.
The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.
The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.
Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.