Teams want their star free agents to be classified as Type As. For example, the Mets know there is no chance of Jose Reyes accepting an arbitration offer, nor will the loss of a draft pick have a big effect on his market. So, they can definitely expect two draft picks of some kind if he leaves. But for other, lesser free agents, Type A status is a problem for the team. For these guys it's understood by both sides that the loss of a pick will hurt their market, making the player more likely to accept an arbitration offer from their old team. If the team wants the picks but has no interest in retaining the player, offering arbitration is dangerous.
Looking at our latest Elias Rankings projections, the following non-star impending free agents are currently classified as Type A:
- Nick Swisher, Yankees: There's a pretty good chance the Yankees choose Swisher's $10.25MM option over his $1MM buyout. But if they decline the option in the name of moving on, Swisher could potentially accept an arbitration offer.
- Vladimir Guerrero, Orioles: If Vlad is a Type B, the Orioles have the chance of working out a handshake agreement for him to decline an arbitration offer, getting them a draft pick without hurting anyone. If he remains a Type A, the chance for a pick is gone.
- Josh Willingham, Athletics: If the A's offer arbitration, there's a good chance Willingham accepts.
- Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox: If the Red Sox decide to go in a different direction at closer, perhaps to save some money, will they get draft picks from Papelbon? He'd probably prefer the security of a multiyear deal, but accepting arbitration and getting a raise from $12MM might have some appeal.
- Jose Valverde, Tigers: The Tigers will probably just pick up his $9MM option, but if not, they have to risk him accepting arbitration if they offer.
- Matt Capps, Twins: This situation resembles Vlad's.
- Darren Oliver, Rangers: Having Oliver around next year wouldn't be such a bad thing, so the Rangers could offer arbitration and be OK with either result.
- Ramon Hernandez, Reds: I think the Reds are safe here and Hernandez would decline an arbitration offer in search of multiyear security and a guaranteed deal.
- Brandon Phillips, Reds: If the Reds decide to decline Phillips' $12MM club option, snag some picks, and move on, they'd have to consider the possibility of Phillips accepting arbitration and actually getting more than $12MM. I think the risk of the Phillies' Jimmy Rollins accepting arbitration is lower.
- Chris Carpenter, Cardinals: He's a quality pitcher, but if the Cardinals decline his $15MM club option, they won't necessarily get draft picks if he leaves.
- Heath Bell, Padres: Bell has publicly stated he'll accept arbitration if the Padres offer. So much for the idea of hanging on to him at the trade deadline because the Padres preferred the value of two draft picks to the offers they received. Owner Jeff Moorad said Bell accepting arbitration is preferable for the Padres in some ways, a statement that invites skepticism.
- Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers: The Brewers worked out a deal to eliminate K-Rod's vesting option. But with his high salary an arbitration offer is not advised, so they probably won't get picks for him.
- Others who are not currently Type A but could get there include Jason Kubel, Marco Scutaro, Chris Snyder, Raul Ibanez, Lance Berkman, Kelly Johnson, Omar Infante, Francisco Cordero, Javier Lopez, and Octavio Dotel.