Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Let's Make A Deal

The Nats and a bunch of players exchanged salary arbitration figures today. If they don't come to an agreement within about a month or so, then it's up to an arbiter to pick one salary or the other.

The Nats and Chris Snelling have already come to an agreement: 1/$450K. Despite being the key piece in the Vidro trade, there really hasn't been much buzz about his role on the team, but he's out of options and would have to stick in the majors. To send him down, the Nats would have to expose him to waivers, where some other team would likely gobble him up. Barring injury (and you can't really do that with him), he'll be on the Major League roster come April.

Our good friend Bill Ladson has the details:

Chad Cordero wants $4.15MM, the team wants $3.65, a relatively tiny difference. With the escalation in his contract that he's likely to see, the Nats would be smart to offer him a long-term deal to buy out the remaining three arbitration years, and, perhaps, a year of Free Agency. Would 4/$22 get it done? Would it be worth it?

John Patterson wants $1.85, the team countered with $.85. That one's going to be trouble. Patterson's a strange case given how meager his statistical case is. He's been injured so much, he just hasn't put up any significant stats. I'd bet that the Nats would be able to win that hearing, but is $500K (assuming they could split the difference) worth it when you're pissing off your would-be ace?

Austin Kearns wants $4.25MM, but the Nats only want to pay $3.65. That's another difference that's almost meaningless. I want to look at Kearns a little more closely later. He's had a bunch of injuries that've prevented him from fulfilling his potential, but there's a lot of potential there. He's another player the Nats might want to lock up, building for the future with him. Would 4/$25 be worth it? Would he do that?

Felipe Lopez filed at $4.1, and the Nats offered $3.7. Seems like the Nats did their homework with the numbers, huh? As I said earlier, I'm not sure I'd go long-term with Lopez until he can prove that he can handle second.

Finally... Alex Escobar asked $590K, the Nats $500K. Their contracts guy (who is it now that Siegle is in SF?) deserves a bonus! They'll settle, and we'll settle for 34 games from Escobar.

Just for laughs and giggles, when I did my salary projections earlier this offseason, this is what I guessed:

Cordero: $3.5 (oops!)
Patterson: $1 (close enough)
Kearns: $3.5 (I'm cheap!)
Lopez: $4.5 (Lopez' agent is my agent)
Escobar: $500K (ka-CHING!)

Would you try to work out long-term deals with any of them? What's a reasonable offer?


  • I agree that the difference between what Cordero wants and what the Nats are offering is fairly small. My guess with him (and the other Nats except J-Patt) is that they'll just split the difference.

    J-Patt's case is definitely interesting. $1M shouldn't be a deal-breaker though. If I were in the Nats' shoes, I would offer J-Patt some sort of incentive deal that protects them if he flames out again but would reward him if he is indeed healthy. If he refused such a deal, then I would have no trouble taking it all the way to the arbitrator. The Nats have a good record there (see: Armas, Tony).

    By Blogger JammingEcono, at 1/16/2007 11:40 PM  

  • I would go for locking up The Chief at your 4/22 numbers. Its reasonable, based on this past winter's, free agent signings, but still makes him tradeable later. I can't see Kearns locking into a long term deal, as I am not sure whether he's comfortable playing here yet. And, I would wait on FLop until he becomes a better defensive player, if possible.

    By Blogger Screech's Best Friend, at 1/17/2007 2:03 PM  

  • The Big Nasty has so much potential, and $1.85m for that potential in this market really isn't that much. He is the only established pitcher in the Nats 5 man rotation anyway. Keep him happy.

    I see a much better year for Cordero, with a full spring training I can see him going back to 2005 form. 4/22 Seems fine to me, considering K-Rod just got 1/7.

    I think lopez has great offensive potential, and slumped a bit when he came over from Cinci. I wouldn't mind having him around for a while. Same with Kearns. These guys are young still and are good enough to keep around.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/17/2007 2:33 PM  

  • I'm not sure that I'd try to sign any of them long-term, unless you can get them at an absolute steal (WTF was Nick Johnson's agent thinking when he let him sign that contract a year ago?).

    Patterson probably won't sign long-term - he's probably at his lowest in terms of what the Nats would be willing to pay him long-term - if he goes out and has a good year (or even a decent year) he'd be in line for a much bigger contract a year from now.

    Lopez had a great 2005 season, but he hasn't been anywhere near that level at any other point of his career. And he's not much defensively. I think Lopez is a guy you go year-to-year with, not someone you lock up and build around.

    Kearns I'd probably try to sign to a deal similar to the one they got Johnson to sign. He's a good all-round player (doesn't hot for average much, but excellent secondary skills and good defense) with durability/injury concerns. $5-6M a year for 3 years is good for Kearns because it gives him some security in case he keeps having injury issues, but it's good for the Nats because it's not really all that much money in the big scheme of things, and there's a chance that (if healthy) Kearns will be worth substantially more than that. It'd be a gamble, but one that I think both sides would take.

    Cordero's a tough call. On the one hand, he's been a good closer and is one of the more popular young players on the Nats. On the other hand, a closer doesn't have all that much value to a team that isn't likely to contend for the next couple of years. Cordero will get ~$4M this year; using Lidge and KRod as comps, Cordero looks like he'll make ~$5-7M next year, and probably ~$7-10M in 2008. Call it $4-6-8 for the 3 arb years. 4/22 is probably on the low side of what it'd take to sign Cordero; he'd probably be looking for 3 years at $20M or so, or 4 years at ~$30M. Tough call, IMHO. It'd be nice to keep him around, but the money might be better spent elsewhere, and he could have a lot of trade value to a contender with a shaky bullpen.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/17/2007 3:40 PM  

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