Arb offer to Pudge no surprise.

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The Rangers’ offer
of salary arbitration to Ivan Rodriguez isn’t all that surprising.  Here are the possible outcomes:


1.      Rodriguez accepts the offer by Monday night’s
deadline and is considered a signed player for 2010 (with salary to be determined
just before spring training at the latest)


2.      Rodriguez declines the offer and continues to
negotiate with Texas, ultimately signing


declines the offer and signs with another team, which would net the Rangers a
compensatory draft pick in the supplemental first round (which in the past three
seasons has produced Tommy Hunter, Julio Borbon, and Tanner Scheppers)


Rodriguez, whose 2009 salary was $1.5 million, isn’t going
to command a huge contract (whether via free agency or arbitration), certainly
one that’s less than the average big league salary of about $3 million.  Could Texas find a suitable backup catcher –
maybe even one arguably a better fit than Rodriguez – for less than what
Rodriguez may earn in 2010?  Maybe.  But there are potential question marks surrounding
both Jarrod Saltalamacchia (health) and Taylor Teagarden (wisdom of having him play
just twice a week), meaning you want someone with the ability to catch every
day in a pinch if needed (i.e., probably not an Adam Melhuse/B.J. Waszgis
type), and the prospect of the bonus draft pick as protection against Rodriguez
choosing a different home is significant.


I’d bet on Rodriguez accepting the offer.  Even with Rudy Jaramillo’s departure, he
wants to be in Texas, and the arbitration-driven salary range is likely going
to pay him as much as any club would offer him on the open market.


The arbitration offer to Marlon Byrd was a lock.  He’s not going to accept (because he knows he
can get more than a one-year deal on the open market), and so he’ll either sign
with Texas at a mutually acceptable number or sign elsewhere, entitling the
Rangers (who already have two first-round picks in June) to the added pick.


The decisions not to offer arbitration to Hank Blalock,
Eddie Guardado, and Joaquin Benoit (none of whom would have netted Texas a compensatory
pick) were equally unsurprising.


Only 10 Type A free agents around the league were offered arbitration:
starter John Lackey; relievers Billy Wagner (who is reportedly signing with
Atlanta), Jose Valverde, Mike Gonzalez, Rafael Soriano, and Rafael Betancourt;
infielders Chone Figgins and Marco Scutaro; and outfielders Matt Holliday and Jason
Bay.  Signing any of them would cost the
Rangers their second first-round pick (22nd overall), but with the
possible exception of a couple of the relief pitchers, none of those players
were going to be in play for Texas this winter, whether a draft pick was on the
line or not.


Among the Type A’s not offered arbitration who have been media-linked
at some point to Texas: relievers Darren Oliver and Octavio Dotel; infielder
Miguel Tejada; and outfielder Jermaine Dye, who has reportedly made it known he’s
willing to play a little first base if needed. 
San Francisco is also apparently in on Dye, and it wouldn’t bother me if
the Giants prevailed, given that Dye (who, according to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, isn’t crazy about DH’ing,
which Texas would want him to do) will be 36 and hit .179/.293/.297 after a
strong first half last year.  Atlanta,
St. Louis, Boston, and the Yankees are also among the eight clubs that have
been attached to Dye.


Thirteen Type B’s were offered arbitration (including Byrd
and Rodriguez), but signing them won’t cost a team a draft pick, as a team
losing a Type B it offered arbitration to simply gets the pick in the supplemental
first round, a round that’s manufactured with created picks (not picks forfeited
by any club).  For what it’s worth, the
Angels didn’t offer arbitration to outfielder Vlad Guerrero, so Los Angeles won’t
get a supplemental first when Guerrero signs elsewhere.


The Winter Meetings kick off in Indianapolis on Monday, with
the Rangers probably less likely to be in the mix for the top tier or two of
free agents than to get together with another club on a trade – or at least lay
the groundwork for one.  There are more
than 200 arbitration-eligibles (Super Two’s through those short of six years of
service), and many will be non-tendered on December 12, flooding the market
with a new wave of free agents – including many players that clubs are trying
to trade right now. 


The Rangers’ arbitration-eligibles are Scott Feldman, Josh
Hamilton, Frankie Francisco, C.J. Wilson, Dustin Nippert, Brandon McCarthy, and
Esteban German.


The key roster pieces needed appear to be a utility
infielder, a right-handed bat for the middle of the order, and probably one dependable
arm – which could be a starter or reliever because of the club’s flexibility with
pitchers like Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland, C.J. Wilson, Matt Harrison, McCarthy,
Doug Mathis, and Guillermo Moscoso (and Nippert, if retained) each
possibilities for work out of either the rotation or the bullpen. 


Baltimore has reportedly asked Texas about Kevin Millwood,
according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports, though talks were
characterized as “not serious.” 


According to a local reporter, free agent reliever J.J. Putz
(coming off July non-Tommy John elbow surgery) is on the Rangers’ radar, free
agent starter Ben Sheets remains of interest, free agent infielder Bobby Crosby
is a possible target, and Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla isn’t – and never
was – of interest to Texas.  The same
reporter writes that Texas asked Florida about righthander Josh Johnson and “other
pitching” but “didn’t get anywhere.”


Marlins GM Michael Hill (a Harvard product who played
outfield and first base in the Rangers farm system in the early 1990s) told a Florida
radio station “with certainty” that Johnson will open the 2010 season as a


Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that Texas and Houston are
interested in free agent righthander Brett Myers if he’d consider a short-term
deal heavy on incentives.


The Padres named Doug Dascenzo manager of their AA Texas
League affiliate in San Antonio.


According to NPB Tracker, the Hanshin Tigers will fire scout
Tom O’Malley.


A follow-up reminder for those who have ordered the 2010 Bound
Edition: I need to know today
if you plan to attend the December 17 book release party to pick up your
book(s).  All orders received after today
will be shipped (and will likely not arrive at your address until after the
party), as will all orders already placed – unless you tell me today (or have
already told me) to hold yours for pickup at the party, where our autograph
guests will include Rusty Greer, Ian & Tess Kinsler, Scott Feldman
(probably), Tommy Hunter, Derek Holland, and Chris Davis.  (The price of autographs is the purchase of
the book, either in advance or at the party.)







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(c) Jamey Newberg



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