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December 02, 2009

Byrd and Pudge Offered Arbitration

Texas offered arbitration to free agents C IVAN RODRIGUEZ and OF MARLON BYRD, and declined to arbitration to P JOAQUIN BENOIT, P EDDIE GUARDADO, CIF HANK BLALOCK, SS OMAR VIZQUEL, and OF ANDRUW JONES.

Byrd made $3 million in his final pre-emancipation arbitration season, up from $1.8 million in 2008. Byrd enjoyed Texas, and the Rangers would like him back, but this winter is epochal for him. Having risen from the minor-league free-agent scrap heap to become a valuable almost-everyday player, the 32-year-old has this one opportunity to make some serious money. He’s pretty close to an average outfielder (average, not replacement-level) in the field and at the plate. That’s worth at least two-and-$12, likely more, but the team that guarantees three-and-$24 will eventually suffer buyer’s remorse (though certainly not on the scale of Gary Matthews Jr.). Byrd hit .309/.375/.522 at home and .281/.328/.414 on the road as a Ranger. Despite the huge split, that road line is actually not bad, particularly for someone who spent most of 2009 in center field.

Rodriguez is an interesting case. Post-2006, the once-fearsome slugger has batted .269/.297/.401, and he’s league-average rather than league-best at shutting down opposing runners. Yes, that still has value, but not very much. There’s also the issue of how much the now-38 Pudge has left in his tank. Notwithstanding the pleasure of watching him retire as a Ranger, is a tandem of Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Pudge (plus Taylor Teagarden and Max Ramirez in AAA) really better than Salty and Teagarden (plus Max and Kevin Richardson)? At best, a full year of Pudge maintains the status quo. Still, it’s a defensible decision. Having him around won’t hurt or cost much, and if he declines the offer, Texas gets a supplemental 1st-round pick.

Unfortunately, neither Vizquel nor Jones, who’ve already signed with the White Sox, cracked the Type B list. Otherwise, Texas could have offered them arbitration despite their signing and collected two easy supplemental 2nd-round picks.

I’ll deal with Blalock in a separate piece.

Posted by Lucas at December 2, 2009 10:01 AM