Ken Rosenthal suggests that in this economy some teams may not offer arbitration to Type A free agents to avoid risking a payroll hit. Further, some players may opt to accept the certainty of arbitration over "a volatile free agent period."
The Dbacks were always expected to offer arbitration to Adam Dunn and he was expected to decline thus netting Arizona two draft picks to compensate for the three players they dealt in August. In arbitration, Dunn would command $15-16MM. Says Rosenthal,
"…if the D-backs made the offer, it’s doubtful that Dunn and his agents would determine by midnight Saturday that a multiyear contract was beyond their reach. What’s more, the D-backs always could trade Dunn if he accepted their offer. In that sense, he would be an asset on a one-year deal; the Nationals, among other teams, would jump."
In arbitration, Kerry Wood would get around $9-10MM per year but it’s obvious the Cubs are not interested in even one year at that price – that money is better spent improving the rotation. The Cubs see Carlos Marmol, not Wood, as their closer and have opted to replace their setup man by trading for Kevin Gregg rather than paying Wood to slot into the role. Rosenthal notes Wood said he would have returned on a one year deal, and if he were to accept arbitration then the Cubs would most likely look to deal him – perhaps to the Rangers?
Rosenthal also points out that arbitration contracts are not guaranteed, but releasing Wood in Spring Training would result in a grievance by the players union. It would be hard to justify releasing a player of Wood’s caliber.
Ben Sheets could command $13-14MM in arbitration and for an ace-quality pitcher that’s reasonable. Rosenthal makes this easy:
"If the Brewers fail to offer Sheets arbitration, it will be a clear indication that club officials are concerned about his ability to stay healthy in 2009. And remember, the Brewers know Sheets better than any other team."