Thursday, July 17, 2008

Magglio's Back and Decision Time for Pudge

Clete Out; Magglio Returns
There was going to be a roster crunch this week, and some undeserving player was eventually going to be sent down either for Magglio's return or the addition of a fifth starter. Clete Thomas heads to Toledo after performing admirably once again in his time with the Tigers. Unfortunately, there are several outfielders fighting for time, and it probably makes sense to give Clete some regular time with the Hens. The good news here is that Magglio Ordonez comes back and joins the lineup. While Matt Joyce has done very well in his absense, this is a nice boost to the lineup as we get closer and closer to crunch time. Hopefully Gary Sheffield, and not Matt Joyce, is the guy who loses the most playing time as a result of this.

Pudge to the Marlins
There is increasing talk that the Marlins have interest in Pudge. He's a free agent after the year, so it would make sense for the Tigers to at least look into finding a temporary home for him if the playoffs become less likely, right?

Not necessarily. Let's take a look at what will happen upon his free agency. The first decision made will be whether or not to offer him arbitration. What will go into this decision?
  • First, the cost of the contract. The risk of offering arbitration is the chance that the player accepts, and is guaranteed a one year deal that is 80% of the current year's salary. Pudge is making $13 million this year, and stands to get a $0.1 million bonus for an inevitable gold glove. 80% of $13.1 million means a contract will be the minimum of $10.48 million.
  • The benefit of offering arbitration is undoubtedly the draft compensation. A "Type A" player will get a sandwich round pick in addition to a first or second round pick. The round of the pick depends on the signing team: if they have a pick between 1-15, you will get the second round pick while you will recieve their first round pick if they are drafting between 16-30. A "Type B" player will only get the sandwich round pick. Where will Pudge fall? It's really hard to tell. I'm going to guess that he is right on the border between A and B, based purely on the fact that he was the lowest rated A catcher last year and his counting stats have declined a bit. Deciphering the Elias rankings will probably take a study of their own. Expect that in the coming weeks.
  • You may remember when the Tigers originally signed Pudge after the Marlins declined to offer him arbitration. Because of this, the Marlins were not allowed to negotiate with him until May 1. This rule no longer exists, so a player can be denied arbitration and still re-sign with his original team.
So, if you are the Tigers what do you do? If they offer arbitration, Pudge is guaranteed $10.5 million next year if he chooses to accept it. If he declines arbitration and signs elsewhere, the Tigers get one or maybe two draft picks. If they decline to offer him arbitration, he hits the open market and will probably be looking for a multi-year deal. So would you rather have Pudge at one year, $10.5M with draft picks if he declines or would you rather get him at three years, $20M with no draft picks if he signs elsewhere. At this point, I'd hold onto him at offer arbitration after the year. I'm going to try to work backwards and figure out the Elias Rankings and see where our free agents will rank.

Shortstop Injuries
Those who follow the minors may have noticed that Danny Worth, Cale Iorg, and Audy Ciriaco have all been put on the DL this week. Worth's injury has been reported as a shoulder/back problem, while Ciriaco's is a mild quadriceps strain. I found those in press releases from the team, and got information on Iorg's return from Tigstown. It's a paid article, so I'm not comfortable posting the information on Iorg's injury, but it doesn't appear to be serious.

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