By 9 p.m. tonight, some familiar names will be offered salary arbitration by their 2009 teams, and as always at this time of year, some won't.
The decision on which players get those offers includes two that must be made by tonight for the Seattle Mariners - on third baseman Adrian Beltre and pitcher Erik Bedard.
If arbitration is offered, the player has one week to accept or decline. Among the free agents expected to get such offers are Johnny Damon, Matt Holiday, Rafael Soriano, Joel Piniero, John Lackey and Chone Figgins.
Teams are expected not to offer arbitration to players including Jermaine Dye, Orlando Cabrera, Orlando Hudson, Andy Pettitte, Carlos Delgado, Ivan Rodriguez, Jon Garland, Miguel Olivo and Randy Winn.
Not offering arbitration doesn't mean the team can't continue to negotiate a contract. The Mariners, for instance, are virtually certain not to want arbitration with Bedard, who made $7.75 million last year - but they may still try to bring him back with a new, incentive-laden deal.
Beltre may be the tougher call. He made $12 million in 2009, and offering arbitration could lock Seattle into an expensive bid on a player the Mariners don't want to spend that kind of money on. Still, should they offer it - and Beltre signed with any of the other 29 teams - the Mariners would get a supplemental draft pick next June.
In arbitration, remember, the team offers one salary figure, the player another. An arbiter listens to cases made, then picks one or the other. If the Mariners, as an example, offered $6 million to Beltre and he asked for $12 million, an arbiter would decide which was closest to Beltre's value.
That's the kind of salary potential that breaks payrolls, and it's a major factor each year in not offering arbitration to good players.
The bet here is that general manager Jack Zduriencik offers Beltre arbitration, declines on Bedard, and that Beltre doesn't accept the offer. Why would he?
Arbitration is for a one-year contract only, and Beltre's agent - yes, Scott Boras - says his client wants at least a four-year contract.
We'll know by 9 p.m.
Now, a few links:
- Oakland's Justin Duchscherer battled clinical depression that almost derailed his career, and writer Jerry Crasnick tracks his hard road back. A terrific read.
- Add Duchscherer: Among the teams who have shown interest in the free agent right-hander are the Pirates, Philies, Rockies, Red Sox and yes, the Seattle Mariners. He made $3.9 million in 2009.
- At a time of year when perspective and balance is hard to find, Toronto writer Richard Griffin analyzes the Blue Jays handling of Roy Halladay and helps make sense of it all.
- Following up on Grady Sizemore's embarrassing internet photos - he took them himself, facing a bathroom mirror, Cleveland beat writer Paul Hoynes said it's unlikely they'll ever be pulled off the 'net.
- Mike Cameron wants to play with a contender next season, and Buster Olney suspects there are teams that fit that description with interest. Among them, the Rangers.
- Chicago's Dave Kaplan reports the Cubs won't offer arbitration to pitcher Rich Harden, something of a surprise given their need for starting pitching. Harden has drawn much attention on the market, and the Mariners are among his admirers.
- This probably won't garner much sympathy: Major league salaries increased last season by 2.4 per cent, from $2.93 million to $2.99 million.