Wednesday, December 08, 2004

So What's Next?

Now that teams have decided to accept or reject arbitration, the ball is in the player's court to decide whether to accept or reject the team's offer. They have until December 19th to accept or reject. If they accept, they will have agreed to a one-year deal. If they decline, they can no longer sign with that team.

Frequently, if the two sides are close to a deal, the player will accept to extend the signing window.

The next key date--and this is doubly so for the Nats--is December 20. That's the day that team's have to decide to offer arbitration for their arbitration-eligible players, who haven't yet attained free-agent eligibility.

This is where the Nats have to make some decisions on players like Nick Johnson, Tony Armas, Zach Day, etc. Arbitration typically means a pretty large salary increase. With most of the Nats arbitration cases though, the player's past injuries have prevented them from putting up the monster numbers that would give them huge salary increases.

Last year, there were huge numbers of these players who were not offered arbitration and who became free agents. These players flood the market and can typically be signed relatively cheaply. There should be plenty of options for the back end of the bullpen, the last starter's spot, and for the bench. If Bowden returns to his low-budget roots, there should be some relative bargains to be had.


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