Offer Arbitration to Vazquez?

"...another year in pinstripes?"

The Yanks have until Tuesday, November 23rd to offer arbitration to their free agents. I would expect them to offer it to Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, given that the Yanks would absolutely love for them to accept 1 year deals. I’d think they won’t offer to Andy Pettitte, knowing he only wants to play for the Yanks and thinking they can do better by negotiating with Andy than they can with an arbitrator. Most of the rest of their other free agents (Berkman, Wood, Johnson, Kearns) are either too old and/or overpaid to offer arbitration to, fearing they’d accept and do much better in arbitration negotiating from their base salary. As a rule, older players that don’t figure to get multi-year offers elsewhere will typically do better in arbitration than they will as free agents.

But lately the hot stove has been buzzing with interest for Javier Vazquez. First, we heard the Braves would like to bring him back with the strong 2009 campaign he had in Atlanta. Next we heard the Rockies consider him a plan B if they don’t re-sign Jorge De Larosa. The Dodgers have kicked the tires on Javy. More recently, the Marlins have expressed a strong interest and even sent their manager Edwin Rodriguez to see him. Upon hearing this development, the Nats are now ready to make Vazquez a formal offer as soon as next week according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. Expect the formal offers to be made after Tuesday, nobody wants to make the Yankees decision any easier and/or give up a draft pick if they don’t have to. But don’t think the Yanks aren’t watching these developments very closely and taking them into consideration in whether or not to offer Javy arbitration.

Chances are the Marlins are just bargain hunting, and the Braves may be as well. The Dodgers have a habit of kicking the tires on all sorts of players, sometimes I think Ned Colletti is just helping out a local beat writer more than he he serious about pursuing some players. Mike Axisa of MLBTR broke down Vazquez’s free agent stock and concluded that the most likely scenario is a one-year incentive laden ‘show me’ deal where he has to prove last year was a just a fluke. But the Nats are in a different position than most teams. It’s a bad club in a tough division, they generally have to overpay to get players to play there, especially those that have other options. Javy and his agent know this, that’s why they have already flirted with the Nats, knowing that making them a realistic option tells his other suitors that they’ll have to step up with a multi-year offer in order to land him. They’ve also flirted with the Marlins, and we seem to have an NL East bidding war starting where the Braves, Marlins and Nats are all after the same player.

So far this off season, some of the contracts handed out have to raise an eyebrow or two. 3 years/16.5 for Joakim Benoit and 3 years/$18 mil for John Buck makes you think this could be one of those years where there’s lots of dollars chasing very little talent. We all know the pitching market is thin after Cliff Lee. After Jorge DelaRosa, it’s even thinner. At that point you’re deciding between Vazquez and the Kevin Correia, Carl Pavano, Kevin Millwood and the Jon Garlands of the world. All of a sudden, Javy doesn’t look all that bad and may even have some upside in the right setting.

Lets return to the general rule on offering arb. Do you think someone will offer Javy multiple years in this market? I do, and therefore he’s one of the pending Yankee free agents who I’d offer arbitration to. I also suspect that Javier’s experience in New York was so unpleasant, where he lost his spot in the rotation twice and the manager clearly had no faith in him, that if this is in any way a close call, his bias will be toward pitching elsewhere next year and will lean towards declining arbitration. Javier Vazquez is a Type B free agent, the Yanks will be eligible for a sandwich pick no matter where he signs. Let’s hope he signs with the Nats.

0 thoughts on “Offer Arbitration to Vazquez?

  1. I would offer to both Javy and Berkman. Lance isn’t going to stay in NY since he only would waive his no trade clause if the Yankees refused to to pick up his option. To me that means he doesn’t want to play there.

    • Steve S.

      Yeah, I didn’t want to get sidetracked in the post on Berkman but I agree 100%. That says a lot about his intentions, and I would expect the Yanks have already discussed this with him at the time of the trade. They wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t, and as we saw with the Yanks interview process for their new pitching coach the Yanks are extremely thorough in all their decisions.

  2. Basil F.

    I thought he was a type A, so offering arb. makes a little more sense. However, he may not get a 2 year deal that would be equivalent to his 1 year arb. salary from the Yanks… They would have to pay him upwards of 12 million, I believe. Too risky, IMO.

    • Steve S.

      Only the top 15 are protected so whoever signs him will give up a sandwich pick. I can’t imagine a starter getting less than a middle reliever (Benoit) so even if he gets a very light 2-15 deal it will still make sense for him. A weak market is what I was referring to at the end when I said he will lean toward leaving the Yanks, since his experience here was so unpleasant.

  3. Reggie C.

    I’d fear that Javier Vazquez would go for one last pay day and take the arbitration. I think Vazquez doesn’t care to pitch much longer and since teams are “bargain hunting” (as you put it), Vazquez simply might not attract a multi-year offers, and if so, I can’t imagine the total value of the contract to match what he would make by accepting arbitration.

    Vazquez is clearly no longer suited to start in the AL. Cashman cannot justify essentially burning $12 million in a middle relief/garbage time pitcher. I believe this is one of those cases where the public’s perception of Vazquez’s value is actually right on the money. He’s a junk asset.

  4. fred

    a point that a lot of people forget is that if a player stiffs you and accepts arbitration and is granted 80% of his previous contract then you cut him up to the last week of spring training if you can’t trade him so the risk is not crippling to a team like the Yankees.

    Also, if we had a creative GM he would call the Nationals and offer $1M for a prospect in their system so they could use that money for Vazquez. Then for $1M we could get a prospect and a sandwich pick.

  5. EJ Fagan

    Its a tough call. I’d say that you offer Berkman, but not Javy. Berkman straight up wants to leave and play the field somewhere, where Javy is looking for a payday. Though if Cashman has the inside information that Javy really, really hates NY, then go for it.

  6. Scout

    Only the top 15 are protected so whoever signs him will give up a sandwich pick

    I was under the impression that sandwich picks are created between the first and second round of the draft based on how teams finished the previous year, but the team signing the type “B” free agent actually doesn’t surrender the pick to the team that loses the player. Perhaps someone could clarify this?

    • EJ Fagan

      Type B picks are allocated in between the first and second rounds. They are allocated in the order that they are signed – earlier signings get earlier picks. No one sacrifices a pick.

      • Steve S.

        Right, that was poorly worded. Nobody “gives up” a pick.

        • Scout

          And the distinction is vital in this case, because no team would be likely to surrender a first-round pick for Vasquez but a sandwich pick is no impediment.

  7. Lou

    Right, so no one has any incentive to wait with regards to draft picks as no team would be sacrificing a pick at any time.

  8. EdB

    Can’t you cut players that accept arbitration in June and only be on the hook for the pro rata to date? I remember reading that somewhere when someone was examining the Maddux case a few years ago.