Arbitration deadline

Dave · December 6, 2004 at 10:44 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Tomorrow is the deadline for teams to offer arbitration to their free agents. If they do not tender an offer of arbitration, the team is unable to sign the player until May 1st. In essence, if you do not offer arbitration to one of your free agents, you are choosing to let him go. Free agents not offered arbitration no longer qualify for compensation, so the signings will pick up after tomorrow and teams no longer fear giving up draft choices for marginal players overvalued by Elias’ ridiculous ratings.

I’m expecting the club to offer arbitration to both Dan Wilson and Ron Villone, though it is possible that they will work out an agreement with Wilson that he will not accept the offer of arbitration. This will give the team and player until December 19th to work out a deal. The M’s want Wilson back and he wants to come back, so I’d expect an agreement will be reached, probably not before tomorrow however.


26 Responses to “Arbitration deadline”

  1. PositivePaul on December 6th, 2004 11:22 am

    My question is — might it be safe to actually go through the arbitration process with both Villone and Wilson? Would either of them really win, if they submitted numbers in the 2-3 million range? I personally don’t have a problem with them going through arbitration with Wilson. They both want two-year contracts, and that’s really the issue. Offering them arbitration is certainly the best way to continue negotiations with them, if the M’s really want them back badly enough.

  2. Mike on December 6th, 2004 11:38 am

    Dave, with regards to arbitration. If the M’s make the offer and Wilson & Villone accept. Isn’t there a minimum raise over last year’s salary with arbitration? I was glad to read over the weekend
    that the offer to Wright was more like 9 mil for 3 yrs.

  3. Dave on December 6th, 2004 11:44 am

    There is no “minimum raise”, though almost everyone gets a raise when they go to arbitration (usually, because those who go through the process are non-free agent eligible players with little service time). The team cannot tender an offer for less than 80 % of the previous years salary, so the least the M’s could offer Wilson would be $2.8 million. That’s just a waste of money, honestly.

    The offer to Wright is pretty confusing. There’s no real way to break it down by years/dollars. It’s not a ton of guaranteed money, though if he pitches well, he won’t be cheap. There’s almost no chance he’s taking the offer, though, so its all moot anyways.

  4. BirdWatcher on December 6th, 2004 11:52 am

    Wilson made $3.5 MM last year, so the lowest number the Mariners could offer is $2.8 MM,a 20% cut. Has there ever been a case where a player came through the arbitration process suffering a salary reduction ?? So, if the M’s offer arbitration, Wilson would be smart to go in with a number a lttle south of $4 MM. Of course, the M’s are probably not willing to pay him more than $2-2.5 MM, and I can’t imagine any other club willing to pay him $3MM for a back-up catcher. So, unless Wilson and the M’s cut a deal before tomorrow, why would they offer him arbitration and risk paying close to $4MM next year for maybe 300 ABs ? The incentive is there for both sides to cut a deal, say, maybe 2 years at $2MM/YR, with a $500,000 buyout for the second year ? Let’s see what happens !

  5. Jim Thomsen on December 6th, 2004 11:52 am

    I get the impressive teams lose far more often than players at arbitration. I have evidence at hand to support this, but given Villone’s “versatility” and Wilson’s nominal batting average and “veteran leadership,” I personally wouldn’t want to risk arbitration with either … I think there’s a good chance both players (and their agents) would take the Mariners to the cleaners — especially as reckless as this offseason has been so far in regards to ridiculous multi-year contracts given to marginal players.

  6. Jim Thomsen on December 6th, 2004 11:54 am

    er … that is … i have NO evidence on hand to support this. Given a little time, I’ll research the won/loss percentage over the past few years.

  7. Mike on December 6th, 2004 12:16 pm

    Thanks Dave, I wouldn’t touch Arbitration with either one even at 80%.

  8. Chris Begley on December 6th, 2004 12:29 pm

    I think for Wilson, the scenario Dave has outlined would go like this: M’s offer arbitration, Wilson declines, they work out a deal at less than the 2.8 Million minimum in arbitration. Essentially, they have to convince him that in free agency he will not get anywhere near that amount.

  9. roger tang on December 6th, 2004 12:35 pm

    Hm. Last I heard, ownership has been winning the majority of arbitration cases the last few years.

  10. PositivePaul on December 6th, 2004 12:36 pm

    I didn’t realize at arbitration teams could offer no less than 80% of the previous year’s salary. In that case, I would not offer arbitration to Wilson. And, I’d threaten to non-tender him, too, as a negotiation tactic. He’d be most certainly overpaid at a contract over $1.5 million, let alone the $2.8 we’d be forced to offer.

    It would be one way of showing that we’re serious about building a winning club, and not just a team full of overpaid, underacheiving fan-favorites. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Dan Wilson and what he brings to this team, but still, he’s not worth overpaying. And, I can most certainly live without Ron Villone. It’s nice that he wants to stay in Seattle, but he’s nowhere near Raul Ibanez.

  11. BirdWatcher on December 6th, 2004 12:54 pm

    Positive Paul, I think most everyone (except maybe the Ms!)share your sentiments, but the problem is if you don’t offer arbitration tomorrow, you are not permitted to negotiate or sign Wilson to a new contract until next May – so, bottom line, he is gone. That’s why Dave suggested that the Ms and Wilson may reach a “gentleman’s agreement” where the Ms offer arbitration but Wilson (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) agrees not to accept it. My question to Dave – if the player’s union went ballistic over gadzillionaire ARod giving up a few pennies at the back end of his obscene contract, surely they’ve got something in the Basic Agreement to prevent teams from getting around the Dec. 7 arbitration deadline by pulling this sort of sleight of hand ?

  12. Adam S on December 6th, 2004 1:29 pm

    I’d heard the “gentleman’s agreement” story too as a way to extend the negotiating deadline, but I still don’t think it’s smart. By accepting arbitration, Wilson is guaranteed 2.8M (total) for the next two years even if he doesn’t play in 2006. That seems like more than he’d get on the open market; it’s certainly a lot more than I’d pay.

    Seems like the pressure should be on Wilson — if he wants to be a Mariner next year, he should negotiate a deal by tomorrow or become a free agent. They can play the gentleman’s agreement game if they’re 90% of the way there.

    Personally while I’d like to see Wilson back, I wouldn’t offer either player arbitration. I don’t think it’s hard to sell “we wanted Wilson, but didn’t want to pay $3M for a backup catcher” to the fans.

    I don’t have data either, but I thought players were winning a large % of arbitration cases. It’s sort of a funny stat, since most cases actually settle somewhere in the middle rather than being decided by an arbitrator.

  13. Basebliman on December 6th, 2004 1:40 pm

    While I’d have to research to know for sure, over the last couple years, the owners have been winning more arbitration cases than the players. Historically however, players generally win more than owners. Maybe the arbitrators are starting to think marginal players make too much. I remember reading about the tide turning the owners way during the Garcia case last year. Of course, his case was an exception.

  14. BirdWatcher on December 6th, 2004 1:48 pm

    To Adam S: NONE of the cases “end in the middle.” That’s what’s unique about baseball arbitration – the arbitrator must accept either the player’s number or the team’s number. All arbitration deals are for only one year, and there is no scope for any additional bells and whistles such as performance bonuses.

  15. BirdWatcher on December 6th, 2004 1:50 pm

    Adam S: I think I misunderstood your comment. OK – I’ll shut up now !

  16. Steve on December 6th, 2004 1:55 pm

    There is precedent for the Mariners to offer arbitration to older, over-the-hill catchers, just to allow negotiatios to continue.

    Didn’t the Mariners offer arbitration last year to Pat Borders, while cutting Mike Cameron loose?

  17. D Corcoran on December 6th, 2004 2:00 pm

    Right-O, Steve.

  18. Adam S on December 6th, 2004 2:01 pm

    OK, I did some research and I stand corrected. Owners have been winning the small number of cases that don’t settle in recent years(references at the end of the comment):

    2003: Owners 4, Players 3, Settled 58 (that’s last winter)
    couldn’t find 2000 – 2002
    1999: Owners 6, Players 4, 81 Settled
    Last 5 years total: Owners 36-18

    1980-1989: Owners 117, Players 96
    1990-1999: Owners 81, Players 55

  19. msb on December 6th, 2004 2:02 pm

    “While I’d have to research to know for sure, over the last couple years, the owners have been winning more arbitration cases than the players. Historically however, players generally win more than owners. Maybe the arbitrators are starting to think marginal players make too much. I remember reading about the tide turning the owners way during the Garcia case last year.”–Comment by Basebliman — 12/6/2004 @ 1:40 pm

    from SI (Feb 2003): “Owners are 259-194 since arbitration began in 1974 and are 32-15 in the last four years, winning 62 percent of cases since the commissioner’s office started an arbitration support program for the team. Before that, teams won 56 percent of cases”

    and re: Garcia, they say that the tide turned away from the owners, due to the MLB rep:

  20. greenlaw9 on December 6th, 2004 2:26 pm

    Sorry for posting this non-arbitration topic, but I thought the board might want to see this (make us all feel a bit better perhaps)…

    In an article on today:

    “That would keep him busy. Beltran said that his suitors so far include the Astros, Phillies, Mariners, Yankees, Mets, Angels, Orioles and Cubs.

    ‘They have called my agent and showed they have interest in me,’ he said. ”

    Here’s a link to the entire article…

  21. greenlaw9 on December 6th, 2004 2:27 pm
  22. Ralph Malph on December 6th, 2004 2:32 pm

    Two words regarding the idea of a “gentleman’s agreement” to offer arbitration to Wilson:

    Carlos Boozer.

  23. Jim Thomsen on December 6th, 2004 3:23 pm

    Off topic … anybody see that Roger Jongewaard hired on as a scout with the Devil Rays?

  24. tede on December 6th, 2004 7:38 pm

    Ralph Malph#22,

    If Dan Wilson wants to double cross the M’s and sign with the Utah Jazz, I’m okay with that. But they’ll still need somebody to back up Miguel “Passed” Olivo.

  25. DG on December 7th, 2004 12:48 am

    For those who enjoy reading the rankings of the Elias Sports Bureau…

    Oh, that’s right, we are all too smart to actually put any stock in those idiotic rankings. Right?

  26. DG on December 7th, 2004 12:52 am

    Re: Off Topic- Jongy.

    According to a source I have spoke to, the M’s new FO wanted Jongy and Kerfeld to stay and offered both more money to do so. Jongy wanted more outside the financial issue and Kerfeld just wanted more of the same.

    Kerfeld is currently in the Dominican scouting for the Padres.