December 1, 2009

Arbitration Notes: Pavano, Cabrera, Polanco, Hudson

Last night was the deadline for teams to offer their departing free agents arbitration and predictably the Twins extended an offer to Carl Pavano. That means they'll receive a supplemental draft pick between the first and second rounds should he sign elsewhere, but it also means that Pavano has the option of accepting the offer and returning in 2010 for a salary determined by an arbiter. My guess is that he'll be able to land a multi-year contract somewhere, so the odds of him accepting arbitration are minimal.

And if for some reason he does accept, then the Twins will have essentially signed him to a one-year contract at something resembling market value. Letting him walk nets a draft pick and his accepting arbitration allows the Twins to retain Pavano at a reasonable cost, so the only real danger is Bill Smith deciding to hand him a multi-year deal. I'm fine with bringing Pavano back for 2010, but any talk of 2011 and 2012 should scare the Twins away.

Orlando Cabrera is the only other Twins free agent to qualify for draft-pick compensation, but under the terms of his contract he can't be offered arbitration. Cabrera smartly negotiated that into his deal so that potential suitors wouldn't have to forfeit a first-round pick to sign him as a Type A free agent, which may have kept him from finding work. My hope is that the Twins' interest in Cabrera ended when they traded for J.J. Hardy, but Ron Gardenhire has said that he'd still like to re-sign him to play second base.

Elsewhere on the arbitration front, potential Twins targets and Type A free agents Placido Polanco and Orlando Hudson were not offered arbitration. That makes them significantly more appealing, because the Twins can now sign them without giving up a first-round pick. Of course, the appeal has increased for other teams as well and ultimately the Twins aren't going to win many bidding wars. I'd really like to see the Twins make a serious run at Hudson, Polanco, or Felipe Lopez to play second base.

UPDATE: Well, that was quick. Polanco is already off the table.

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