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.
Update (7:01 PM EDT): David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the deal has been completed.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2020 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. The suspension is up on August 2. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.