Placido Polanco certainly won't be hurting for money after signing a three-year deal worth $18MM with the Phillies this offseason, but if the Tigers had offered him arbitration, he probably would have accepted it according to MLB.com's Jason Beck.
"You know, if they would've offered me arbitration, I probably would've accepted it," Polanco said. "Probably. I didn't know what was out there. Most teams were waiting on that. Most teams wait on that, because the type of free agent I was, they have to give up a Draft pick. So that kind of worked out well for me."
After earning $4.6MM during his final season in Detroit, Polanco was probably looking at a $6MM salary or so if he had accepted arbitration and gone to a hearing. As a Type-A free agent, a team would have had to surrender a high draft pick to sign him if he turned down the offer. The Tigers had to weigh the pros of possibly landing two high draft picks against the cons of having Polanco on a one-year contract, likely at more money than they were comfortable paying him.
Several players, including Rafael Soriano, Carl Pavano, and Rafael Betancourt, accepted arbitration this winter instead of exploring the free agent market. They went for the guaranteed pay day over a shot at bigger money as a free agent. Several teams, such as the Dodgers and Yankees, chose not to offer arbitration to any of their free agents to avoid getting stuck with a player on an expensive contract, even if it was only for one year.