Offering arbitration is a gamble. Offer it to a guy you don’t want to keep in order to gain picks and you might just end up paying that guy anyway:
Free-agent reliever Jose Valverde could accept the Astros’ offer of
salary arbitration by Monday’s midnight ET deadline, according to
The return of Valverde would eliminate the Astros’ need for a closer.
But it also could be a $10 million hit for a team with limited payroll flexibility.
A team in Houston’s position (i.e. still denying that they’re rebuilding but rebuilding all the same) doesn’t need a big money closer. Being forced to pay Valverde eight or even high seven figures would really hamper Houston.
But Valverde is no idiot. He knows how many closers and setup men are out there on the market right now. What is he, the fifth best option for some teams? Sixth? The open market could be a pretty scary place for a guy like him this winter.
We’ll know whether this comes to pass — or whether any other unexpected arb acceptances happen — by midnight tonight. If you we see Ed Wade in the hotel bar with his head hanging low over a tall glass of Old Granddad, we’ll know what happened.