Olney On Rodriguez, Ibanez, Lee, Yankees

Last night’s arbitration decisions included some particularly interesting cases, and ESPN.com’s Buster Olney offers insight into a few of them:

  • At times “winks and nods” are involved when it comes to Type B free agents. The free agents have been known to agree in advance to decline arbitration offers, since doing so doesn’t hurt their free agent value. 
  • However, GM Doug Melvin says the Brewers did not ask agent Scott Boras to decline the team’s offer to Francisco Rodriguez. "We felt that with us trading some players the last few years that this was a chance to recover with some high picks,” Melvin told Olney. The GM explained that he’s not expecting to obtain many compensation picks in the next couple of years.
  • As Olney points out, Rodriguez faces a similar decision to the one another Boras client, Rafael Soriano, faced last offseason: “take more money to be a setup man, or less to be a closer.”
  • Olney notes that Raul Ibanez’s agents have a good relationship with the Phillies and suggests it’s likely Ibanez has agreed to turn down the team’s offer.
  • There's no understanding that Derrek Lee will reject the Pirates' offer, according to Olney (on Twitter).
  • Olney suggests gentlemen's agreements are likely in place with Aaron Harang, Jose Molina and David DeJesus and that the three players will decline arbitration(Twitter link).
  • The Yankees are quietly confident that Phil Hughes will start Spring Training in improved physical condition and have a bounce-back season in 2012. They will continue to discuss available starting pitchers, even after agreeing to terms with Freddy Garcia.

31 Responses to Olney On Rodriguez, Ibanez, Lee, Yankees Leave a Reply

  1. slider32 4 years ago

    It’s tough to tell with pitching, but last year both Hughes and Nova were on the Verducci list for increased innings under the age of 25. I think Hughes has a good chancte of having a bounce back year. I think Chamberlain may show great improvement after Tommy John surgery.

    • TheHotCorner 4 years ago

      I wouldn’t get too excited about the Verducci Effect.  The thing about the Verducci Effect is that, while it does seem to hold for some pitchers, it doesn’t hold for all pitchers. Some of the pitchers who are predicted to break down actually do, others don’t. As a result, that calls into question the idea that the increase in workload from one year to the next is solely responsible for those pitchers’ injury problems.  I think the missing “ingredient” in the VE is the pitchers mechanics and that that the VE should look at the increase in pitches thrown verse innings pitched along with the type of pitch being thrown.

  2. These “gentlemens’ agreements” are corrupt.  The purpose of compensation is to compensate clubs for losing players that they would like to keep, but can’t afford. 

    At least the new deal should do away with these shams.  No player is going to decline a bogus offer of $ 12.4 million and make his new club give up a first round pick. 

    • Dylan 4 years ago

      Why? It doesn’t hurt anybody.

      • Shawn Baublitz 4 years ago

        Yes it does. It hurts teams in the draft. Now teams get free high draft picks that should be going to teams that need them.

        • Dylan 4 years ago

          You’re saying the Phillies don’t need those picks? Phillies (by choice) traded away most of their top guys in the last three years (D’Arnaud, Taylor, Drabek, Gose, Singleton, Cosart, etc.). I know THEY did this, but I’m pretty sure the Phillies NEED those picks.

          Yes, Ibanez declining would bump everyone else back one slot, but it has been done many times in the past and it will continue to be done until they don’t allow it anymore. I see your point, but those teams that “need” the pick, are already getting a top 5 pick, mostly have a top 10 farm, and now will have a lottery for extra picks…So, this one extra pick for the Phillies isn’t the difference between a .500 season or a losing season.

        • Dylan 4 years ago

          Also, you have to keep in mind that three years ago when the Phillies signed Raul to a three year contract when no one else would probably go past two AND give him no trade protection, Amaro probably asked him if he would decline arbitration after the ’11 season. This may have been in place three years ago already. I believe it would be very common when negotiating contracts to ask for things like this in exchange for no trade protection or bonuses. Afterall, it doesn’t hurt Ibanez in anyway, in fact, it may help him.

      • It hurts everybody by giving a competitive advantage to one club based on a disingenuous sham offer.  Every club that picks after the bogus “comp” pick has their position lowered in the draft for every other round.   I’m glad it will be gone.

        I hope Ibanez accepts arbitration. 

    • Agree, it’s a dirty little secret that the player and agent are getting under the table compensation for turning down arb. Otherwise what player (Ibanez) in their right mind , especially one of an older age at the end of his career (Ibanez), would turn down guaranteed millions of dollars more than they(he) will get on the open market?

      • harmony55 4 years ago

        If a payment takes place, should that payment have luxury tax implications?

    • bvw87 4 years ago

      With the new CBA in place, it won’t matter if guys like Ibanez are offered arbitration, if I understand it correctly.

  3. harmony55 4 years ago

    Would it be unethical for a team to pay a player to agree to decline arbitration?

    In other words, could the team buy a sandwich draft pick by paying a potential departing free agent, say, $250,000 to decline the team’s offer of arbitration?

    What is the market value of a sandwich pick?

    • Paul Quinn 4 years ago

      Its an underhanded practice, and I have to imagine that someone from the league would step in to ensure such practices didn’t happen. Its one thing to shake hands. Its another thing to pay someone a half million dollars or however much to decline an offer of almost $12M. The whole thing seems ludicrous. 

      • harmony55 4 years ago

        I’m looking more at the current Dan Wheelers and Aaron Harangs who have been mentioned as possible parties to gentlemen’s agreements (and who would not require a compensatory draft pick from the signing team).

        If a player holds something of value to his former team, why should that player merely give that away for free? An exchange of money would give each party something of value.

        I’ll concede that it seems unseemly.

      • vtadave 4 years ago

        I think it’s fine.


        The Padres

    • vonhayesdays 4 years ago

      It probably happens all the time , baseball is all about the underhanded deed , always has been from stealing signs , to throwing games , betting on games and your even allowed to steal in the game so i would see no reason why this doesnt happen 

    • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

      What makes you think any team has paid any player to turn down an arbitration offer? 

      • harmony55 4 years ago

        I posed a hypothetical without alleging specfic conduct.

        However, the player holds something of value to the team. Should the player give that asset away for free? Or should the player seek monetory compensation from the team benefitting from the player’s decision?

      • stl_cards16 4 years ago

        You don’t find it weird that players enter these handshake agreements to decline arbitration without any kind of compensation? I think he raises a good question.

    • JTT11 4 years ago

      Is it unethical – absolutely not.

  4. FacelessGeneralManager 4 years ago

    Appreciate the updates even on thanksgiving!! Wouldnt blame mlbtr if you guys took the day off.

    • MB923 4 years ago


    • vtadave 4 years ago

      Tim is a slave driver. No way he lets Ben and the other guys enjoy time with their families.

      Ha kidding.  Happy Thanksgiving all.

  5. Jim McGrath 4 years ago

    The Red Sox might be smart to look at KRod or Cordero or someone with a similar MO as set-up guys for Bard and definitely commit to Aceves as a part of the rotation. My preference has been Aceves as closer and Bard to remain as set-up; that’s not going to happen.

    • YanksFanSince78 4 years ago

      I’ve always liked Ace but I don’t see him having closer potential, or at least not a dominant one. I think a good closer has to have one of two things. Either a high KO ability (Ace only has a 6.2/9 lifetime) or a good GB% of 45% or better (Ace has a career rate of 39%) and he has neither. I think he’s best served in the role he did last year as a multiple innings relief pitcher or as a full-time starter. 

      • Jim McGrath 4 years ago

        The ingredient Aceves has that many lack is the ability to put every performance in the rear view mirror. One day, last season, he walked five guys in a row. Next game he came out and he was near perfect. He throws harder than Keith Foulke who was on the mound for the clinchers against the Yankees and Cards in 2004. Foulke was not overpowering. The other thing “Ace” can do is laugh at himself. I am shocked the Yankees let him go. I hope he gets a hefty pay hike this season–he deserves it for the way he pitched last season.
        Sox fan since ’44. I do wear “blinders.”

  6. kurtits 4 years ago

    Molina is closing in on a contract with the rays so it doesn’t really matter.

  7. vonhayesdays 4 years ago


  8. kidsmoke96 4 years ago

    I’m going to read into Doug Melvin’s comment that they won’t have much in the way of comp picks after 2011 as optimism that they will be announcing Greinke/Marcum extensions soon.

  9. slider32 4 years ago

    One thing I know is that innings usually are increased with young pitchers in the minors in the past. Now it seems like pitchers are pitching in the majors a little quicker before they can build up their base innings usually around 600 innings in the minors. VE is just an indicator of young pitchers. Each pitcher is different.

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