Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Arbitration Conundrum: Placido Polanco

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.

(Placido Polanco, Type A free agent)


1. Tigers offer Polanco arbitration and he accepts; Tigers control his rights for at least 2010 and possibly longer if they come to terms on a new contract. Polanco's 2010 salary will be determined by either arbitration or through negotiation. Polanco earned $4.6 million in 2009 and would likely command somewhere between $6-$8 million in salary arbitration.

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

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

VERDICT: Do not offer Polanco salary arbitration

Here's why:


-Lose an effective second baseman

-No free agent compensation


-While the Tigers might be weakened in the short team, not offering Polanco arbitration is the right move when you consider how poor the Tigers finances are.

-Give Scott Sizemore, a younger and cheaper option, the opportunity to excel at second base.

If the Tigers were in a better financial situation, then it would be much easier for the Tigers to justify bringing Polanco back for another season. At this stage in his career, Polanco is still a very useful player to have around, which makes this decision all the more difficult for the Tigers. There's a good chance that if the Tigers offered Polanco arbitration, that he would sign with another team and the Tigers would be awarded draft picks as free agent compensation. Despite this, the Tigers are not in the financial position to take risks right now that could potentially tie up money and force them to trade away one of their high priced players (Granderson, Jackson, etc.)

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