ESPN.com's Buster Olney looks back to last winter when players like Juan Cruz saw their value tumble because the Elias rankings classified them as Type A free agents. Some players are good enough to qualify, but not tantalizing enough for teams to give up the high draft pick that Type A free agents cost if their teams offer arbitration. Olney quizzed a group of executives about this year's likely Type A free agents; here are the details you need to know:
- Vladimir Guerrero makes $15MM this year, so Olney's execs doubt the Angels will offer arbitration.
- The executives polled said the Braves seem likely to offer Mike Gonzalez arbitration. It may make sense for Gonzalez to accept, since teams may be reluctant to give up millions of dollars and picks when there are other good relievers available. It doesn't appear that the Braves will offer Rafael Soriano arbitration.
- Four of the six execs Olney asked say the Cubs won't offer Rich Harden arbitration. He'd be in a position to command $10MM on a one-year deal. Is that such a huge risk for a big-market club like the Cubs to take? Harden has started 51 games since 2008 and could yield a top draft pick.
- None of Olney's respondents expect the Astros to offer Miguel Tejada arbitration.
- The execs are split on the Dodgers' plans for Orlando Hudson. The club is cost-conscious, but Hudson is still a talented player who could net the team a draft pick if he signs elsewhere.
Got it? You can find explanations of arbitration, free agent compensation and related terms in our hot stove glossary if it's still a little hazy.