Posted by Steve
Yesterday was the deadline to offer arbitration to free agents, and the Brewers decided not to offer arbitration to any of theirs. Not offering to Jason Kendall, Braden Looper and David Weathers makes perfect sense. Mike Cameron is a different story; he has value and probably could have been traded if he accepted. I can still understand it though, because that would have probably been around $10 or 12 million, so it’s somewhat risky. The one I can’t understand at all though is why they didn’t offer arbitration to Felipe Lopez.
There was no reason not to offer Lopez arbitration. There was almost no chance he’d accept it; he’ll turn his best season of his career into a multi-year deal somewhere. Offering him arby wouldn’t have even deterred a team from signing him anyway because he’s only a Type B free agent, meaning the signing team wouldn’t have to forfeit their own draft pick. The Brewers would have just received an extra second round pick.
Even if Lopez had somehow accepted arbitration, it’s not like his contract would have been dead money. Lopez made $3.5 million in 2009, so through arbitration he’d be around 4.5 or 5. That’s not all that much for a productive second baseman. Lopez could have been kept for insurance at second base and served as a utility player playing 3-5 times a week at various positions. Or if they ended up not needing him, he could have just been traded. Rickie Weeks is returning from a serious wrist injury, which incidentally is the second of his career. The Brewers must feel good about him coming back at 100%. They’d have to to make this move.
Lopez will almost certainly sign a multi-year deal, which means he’d have declined arbitration. Really, this is just throwing away a free draft pick. What really doesn’t make sense is why the Brewers traded for Lopez in the first place if they weren’t going to offer him arbitration after the season. Knowing this, I’d have just as soon not made the trade had Casey McGehee play second. At least that would have opened up third for Mat Gamel.
Moving on to the rest of baseball. Lopez was surprising, but some of the other players who were not offered arbitration were even more surprising. Rich Harden, Randy Wolf, Jon Garland and Doug Davis were all not offered arbitration. Harden is surprising, but I suppose with his injury history there’s a chance he might not get a multi-year deal. I still expect him to sign for at least two years, though. Wolf is the really shocking one. He’s durable and effective. There’s no way he does not garner a multi-year deal. Wolf is a Type A and would have netted the Dodgers two high draft picks. Total blunder by the Dodgers.
Of course, the bright side of this is if the Brewers want to sign one of these starters, it won’t cost them a draft pick.