What We Learned: This Week’s Arbitration Decisions

Type A relievers Frank Francisco and Jason Frasor were the only ranked free agents to accept their teams' offers of arbitration yesterday. Here's what we learned from last night's decisions:

The Facts

  • 12 of 14 Type A free agents turned down arbitration (86%).
  • 21 of 21 Type B free agents turned down arbitration (100%).
  • In total, 33 of 35 ranked free agents turned down arbitration (94%).
  • If you haven't done so already, click here for an explanation of how free agent compensation works, click here to check out our arbitration offer tracker and click here to read what we learned about the offers themselves.

What This Says About The Market

  • It says teams are willing to spend and players know it. Players see lots of multiyear deals on the open market and are seeking long-term commitments instead of the security of a deal through the arbitration process.
  • Though the market's generally good, Type A relievers still have a hard time convincing teams to surrender draft picks for them. Type A setup men like Juan Cruz have had trouble landing contracts in recent years, so Frasor and Francisco chose the security of their teams' offers.
  • But one Type A setup man is taking his chances in free agency. Grant Balfour declined arbitration and told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times that he's confident his Type A status won't prevent him from signing a multi-year deal.

What To Expect In 2010 And 2011

  • The supplementary first round will be longer than usual in 2011, a strong draft year.
  • Some teams could be drafting early and often next June. The Padres and White Sox could gain three picks, the Twins could add four and the Red Sox and Blue Jays could pick up five extra selections apiece. The real winners could be the Rays, who stand to pick up as many as ten extra draft choices next year.

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5 Comments on "What We Learned: This Week’s Arbitration Decisions"

4 years 9 months ago

So essentially the sandwich round has now become the de facto 2nd round. If the Rays have 10 extra slots or so, wouldn’t that diminish the chances of most of those selected to reach agreements with them? The Rays might not have the $$$ to lay out on so many picks. And with not being able to trade picks, the players chosen will be under pressure to either sign or sit out. Add to that the Blue Jays essentially buying a pick in Olivo, and you have a system thats about to be thoroughly gamed.

4 years 9 months ago

While the Rays are smaller in terms of money, they could still pull this off because one knowing they have that many picks, they’ll have to be sure how to use it wisely and two I’d think they could use some money that could have been used in arbitration towards draft picks.

4 years 9 months ago

I wouldn’t necesarrily agree with that. The Rays don’t have a lot of money but they know how to distribute their dollars and they know they need to save some for the draft. The Rays proved that a low-revenue team can have success through the draft and player development and now that so many of their big pieces are leaving, they’re going to have to reload to be great again one day.

4 years 9 months ago

Every team knows their budget and have a general idea of how much each player will want. If they are strapped they will just go for safer and cheaper college players over the expensive (Gotta pry them away from college commitments) and much more volatile (though higher upside) high school players.

4 years 9 months ago

Colour me confused: I thought an arbitration contract was not guaranteed, and this was (for example) Varitek’s excuse for declining arbitration two years ago.