Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Arbitration Conundrum: Benjie Molina

The deadline for teams to offer free agents salary arbitration is today, which means that some teams will have fascinating decisions to make. There is significant economic risk involved in offering a player salary arbitration, especially in a weak economy. For more information about arbitration, click here.


1. Giants offer Molina arbitration and he accepts; Giants control his rights for at least 2010 and possibly longer if they come to terms on a new contract. Molina's 2010 salary will be determined by either arbitration or through negotiation. Molina earned $6 million in 2009 and would likely command somewhere between $7-$8 million in salary arbitration.

2. Giants offer Molina arbitration and he declines; the Giants will receive draft pick compensation if Molina signs elsewhere; Molina is still able to sign with the Giants as well

3. Giants refuse to offer Molina salary arbitration; the Giants can still sign Molina, but they would receive no draft pick compensation in return

VERDICT: Offer Molina salary arbitration

Here's why:


-The biggest risk involved in offering Molina salary arbitration is that he accepts and the Giants are forced to pay above market value for a declining and aging catcher.


-The reward for the Giants in offering Molina arbitration is twofold:

1. Security blanket: If Buster Posey is unable to handle the catching duties full time next season, then Molina would be an ideal replacement. Also, if the Giants bring back Molina, they could bring Posey along slowly until they know that he is ready to handle the gig.
2. Draft Pick Compensation: Given how weak the free agent crop of catchers is this offseason, it would not surprise me to see a team sign Molina in spite of his Type A status.

The reward far exceeds the risk in this scenario and would be putting the Giants in a position of power no matter what Molina decides to do.

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