Arbitration offer deadline approaching.
There are a number of likely reasons that the free agent and trade markets have been slow to get rolling this winter, but one impediment goes away a week from now, as the deadline for clubs to offer arbitration to their free agents – in order to get compensation if they sign elsewhere – is on Tuesday the 1st.
Type A free agents are the only ones who cost teams their own draft picks to sign, but until it’s known which Type A’s around the league are going to be available without draft pick forfeiture tied to them, it would stand to reason that clubs are going to hold off in some cases on adding Type B’s and no-compensation players who they might see as lesser fits.
Texas has no Type A’s among its free agents. Marlon Byrd and Ivan Rodriguez are Type B’s. If either signs elsewhere before December 1, the Rangers will get a supplemental first-round pick as compensation. If they don’t sign by the 1st, Texas will have to make arbitration offers in order to get the supplemental first (a round which in recent years has produced Tommy Hunter, Julio Borbon, and Tanner Scheppers for Texas).
An arbitration offer to Byrd is a lock; Texas would be happy to get him back on a one-year contract if he were to accept arbitration . . . and he’s not going to accept it anyway, so the offer has no downside.
As for Rodriguez, that’s trickier. It’s not that his one-year, arbitration-produced deal would bust payroll if he were to accept the offer, but instead a situation where the club may decide it wants Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Taylor Teagarden splitting the catcher at-bats in 2010 and would be more comfortable having a veteran backup stashed away at Oklahoma City to protect against injury – in which case Rodriguez wouldn’t make sense.
But with this winter’s unusually flexible roster (not to mention the fact that the young catchers have options remaining), and the lure of that extra first-round pick if Rodriguez were to sign elsewhere, I’d lean toward guessing that we see the Rangers offer him arbitration by Tuesday as well.
There’s no potential draft pick compensation tied to Hank Blalock, Eddie Guardado, Joaquin Benoit, or Andruw Jones (nor was there any tied to new White Sox infielder Omar Vizquel). Texas won’t offer any of them arbitration.
Baseball America crunched the Pitch F/X data from this fall’s Arizona Fall League season and determined that Scheppers clocked fourth-highest in the league with a fastball that touched 98.2 mph. Danny Gutierrez (96.2), Evan Reed (95.5), Matt Harrison (95.4), and Brennan Garr (94.0) were all in the league’s top 50 as well. Scheppers was third in the league in average velocity (95.93 mph), and Gutierrez, Reed, and Harrison each sat between 92.5 and 93.31.
Baltimore signed 27-year-old lefthander Mike Hinckley to a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp. After the Nationals designated Hinckley for assignment in May, the Rangers picked him up and assigned him to Oklahoma City, where he pitched reasonably well in relief for four months, posting a 3.26 ERA, holding the Pacific Coast League to a .276 batting average, fanning 32 and issuing 22 unintentional walks in 49.2 innings, and allowing four home runs. He was slightly more effective against lefties.
The Mets named Jack Voigt hitting coach for AAA Buffalo, promoting him from their Short-Season A affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones.
Quick reminder on Bound Edition orders:
1. Free shipping on November orders.
2. Starting December 1, a shipping and handling fee (the publisher’s, not mine) of $4.95 per order will be applied.
3. No shipping fee, of course, if you pick your order up at the Book Release Party, which will be at Sherlock’s in Arlington on Thursday, December 17 or Wednesday, December 16 (most likely the 17th). But I need to know from you in advance whether you plan to pick your book(s) up at the party, or else your order will ship to you a few days before that and may not arrive in time for you to bring it to the party for player autographs. (As always, admission to the party is free but the “cost” to get player autographs is the purchase of the book, either in advance or that night.)
If you plan to come to the party and haven’t told me yet, please do that. Thanks.
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(c) Jamey Newberg