Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Arbitration Fallout: Benjie Molina

Yesterday, I advocated for the Giants to offer Benjie Molina salary arbitration. But the Giants were unwilling to take the risk:
"The Giants declined to offer salary arbitration to Bengie Molina, the clearest signal yet that they will have a different catcher on opening day.

They also didn't offer arbitration to their other free agents: outfielder Randy Winn, right-hander Bob Howry, left-hander Randy Johnson, right-hander Brad Penny, and infielders Juan Uribe and Rich Aurilia.

The Giants are attempting to bring back Penny at a salary far less than what he would command in front of an arbitration panel.

Molina, the Giants' only Type A free agent, could have netted two draft picks if he were offered arbitration but declined and signed with another club. But if he had been offered arbitration and accepted, he would have returned on a one-year contract at a salary likely in excess of the $6 million he made last season.

The Giants have top prospect Buster Posey knocking on the door and cheaper catching options on the free-agent market."
I understand the risk involved with offering Molina salary arbitration because the Giants really, really do not want to be committed to $8 million dollars of Benjie Molina in 2010 with Buster Posey coming on board.

But I still think with the catching market this weak, that there was a significant chance that Molina would not have accepted the arbitration offer and he would have tested the free agent market.

To me, this was a risk worth taking for the Giants. If Posey beats out Molina for the starting gig, then so be it; Molina is an expensive backup and potential trade bait. If Molina beats out Posey for the starting gig, then it's obvious that the kid isn't ready and lucky for the Giants that they have Molina around. And even if Molina signed elsewhere, he would have netted the Giants two high draft picks, which is an obvious boon for the Giants.

We'll see if the Giants even make an effort to bring Molina back from here on out. I doubt it. Now that teams do not have to offer Molina arbitration, I would expect him to land a nice multi year contract with some team.

If Brian Schneider can land a two year deal, then I'm confident that Benjie Molina can do the same.

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