Yankees, Mets, trade rumors, free agents, off-the-wall predictions and other MLB musings.
The early arbitration offers, John Henry and Tommy Henrich
Well, I goofed on the Yankees likely offering Andy Pettitte arbitration - they didn't, just as they didn't offer it to anyone else (Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Jose Molina or Xavier Nady), as Joel Sherman accurately reported this morning - because I misunderstood a nuance of the process.
I thought that, if Pettitte were to actually accept arbitration, his hearing would work off his $5.5 million base salary for 2009, rather than the total of $10.5 million he earned from hitting so many of his performance incentives.
Because Pettitte enjoyed a good '09 season, he would get a healthy raise from that $10.5 million through the arbitration process. The Yankees aren't prepared to give him that, although they have to know that Pettitte won't return for the same guaranteed money he agreed to last year.
So, no extra draft picks for the Yankees in 2010. Which, IMO, makes them less likely to go crazy on Type A free agents. Even when Brian Cashman signed A.J. Burnett, CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira last year, he knew he had first- and second-round picks coming to him because the Yankees didn't sign their first- and second-round picks of '08. Because Cashman values player development so much, he wanst to keep the pipeline going.
--Interesting thoughts by Red Sox owner John Henry, who wants to do away with revenue sharing and place baseball's socialist onus more on a "competitive balanced payroll tax," as he phrases it.
There's little chance that revenue sharing will be obliterated, as Henry wants. This story reflects the difficulty there is every time a new collective bargaining agreement is negotiated. It's not only getting the players and owners to peacefully coexist. It's getting all of the owners to tolerate each other before they enter the negotiation room.
--Rest in peace, Tommy Henrich. I never had the privilege of seeing him play. Would love to hear from those who did.
--The Phillies signed Brian Schneider to a two-year deal. Yeesh.
--Utility man Nick Green, who performed a fine job filling for the Red Sox this past season, is drawing "significant interest" on major-league contracts, said his agent, Long Island native Tom O'Connell. O'Connell represents Carl Pavano, who received considerable leverage today when the Twins offered him arbitration.
--I will update with more news as it comes tonight. The Mets are likely to announce their decision on arbitration (no on Carlos Delgado, Elmer Dessens, Gary Sheffield and Fernando Tatis), as well as their re-hiring of Wayne Krivsky.
--UPDATE, 5:36 p.m.: Just after I posted this, MLB released its "Indepdendent Program Administrator's 2009 Public Report." I'm sure the entirety of it will be available shortly on MLB.com, but the lead item is that 108 players received therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit disorder.
Congress raised this issue in January 2008, at the hearing which George Mitchell, Bud Selig and Donald Fehr testified right after the MItchell Report, and gosh, that still seems like an awfully high number of players with ADD.
--UPDATE, 6:16 p.m.: It's now official - no Mets free agents have been offered arbitration. Not surprising. If Carlos Delgado had been offered arbitration, he would've accepted it so fast that he would've evoked memories of Cool Papa Bell, who allegedly could turn off a light switch and then be in bed before teh room got dark.
Meanwhile, regarding the Mets' catching situation, an interesting scenario to monitor is the Rays'. Thanks to Tampa Bay's acquisition today of Kelly Shoppach, the Rays now have two experienced guys in Shoppach and Dioner Navarro. Tampa Bay executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman will likely work the next 11 days to find a new home for one of the pair.
If I were the Mets, I'd strongly consider both, given the low cost in money and trade chips; the Rays likely won't be looking for much, since the alternative is non-tendering one of the two and getting nothing in return.
--UPDATE, 7:43 p.m. As an addendum to this Tampa Bay catching situation, the Rays offered free-agent catcher Gregg Zaun, a Type B free agent, arbitration. If Zaun accepts, then the Rays will be in a situation where they realistically have to cut bait on someone by the Dec. 12 non-tender deadline. Given their financial restraints, they can't be paying seven figures each to three different catchers.
All the more reason for the Mets to exploit this. Given the acquisition costs involved, I think I'd rather have Shoppach or Navarro, plus Henry Blanco, Omir Santos and Josh Thole, than Bengie Molina.