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 Tigers offer arbitration to Rodney, Lyon but they turn it down

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PostSubject: Tigers offer arbitration to Rodney, Lyon but they turn it down   Tue Dec 01, 2009 7:04 pm

Tigers offer arbitration to Rodney, Lyon
Polanco not likely to re-sign; promotion set for Sizemore

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

12/01/09 2:42 PM EST

DETROIT -- The Tigers decided to offer arbitration to Type B free agent relievers Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon, but not to Type A free agent Placido Polanco.

The announcement ahead of Tuesday night's midnight ET deadline sets the stage for the Tigers to receive compensation picks in next year's First-Year Player Draft if Rodney and/or Lyon sign elsewhere, but nothing in exchange for Polanco.

Though the Tigers had to be tempted by the potential for two compensation picks, there was at least a logical chance Polanco would have considered arbitration if offered. While a multiyear deal is obviously a huge appeal for the 34-year-old second baseman, arbitration would've almost surely hurt his value on the market. Any other team would've had to give up a first- or second-round Draft pick to sign him, and that would've slowed the market on him. The other pick would've been sandwiched between the first and second rounds.

Moreover, the one-year salary Polanco could've earned in arbitration could have been very tempting. Polanco earned $4.6 million in each of his four full seasons in Detroit as part of an extension he signed in 2005, but contracts signed last offseason for such All-Star second basemen as Boston's Dustin Pedroia and Baltimore's Brian Roberts have come at much larger salaries.

Polanco won his second Gold Glove Award in three years last month after committing just two errors in 731 total chances, good for a .997 fielding percentage. Working alongside Adam Everett, he turned a career-high 112 double plays and posted a .509 Range Factor that compared favorably to his errorless season of 2007.

At the plate, Polanco drove in a career-best 72 runs to go with a .285 average, 31 doubles and 10 home runs. He ended up receiving votes in American League Most Valuable Player balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

The Tigers are prepared to promote Scott Sizemore, their Minor League Player of the Year, to second base. Sizemore underwent surgery in October after breaking his ankle while playing in the Arizona Fall League, but he's projected to be ready for the start of Spring Training. The Tigers are free to negotiate with Polanco's representatives and try to re-sign him, but that doesn't appear likely.

The risk is far less on Lyon and Rodney, since any other team that signs them won't have to give up a Draft pick. The compensation picks on them would come at the end of the second round.

Both Rodney and Lyon are looking for multiyear deals and attracting interest along those lines, even in a relief market that can be unpredictable. Rodney took advantage of his long-awaited chance to close and racked up 37 saves in 38 opportunities along with a 4.40 ERA. Lyon served as his setup man for most of the season and used a dominant second half to finish with a 6-5 record, 2.86 ERA, three saves and 15 holds. Opponents batted just .205 against Lyon, who allowed 56 hits over 78 2/3 innings.

Rodney and Lyon have six days to accept or reject arbitration. Given their situations, they'll likely reject the offers. That won't necessarily close off Detroit's interest, but it sets the challenge of multiyear offers, something that could require the Tigers to do some of their much-rumored maneuvering to free up payroll.

Lyon's agent, Barry Meister, indicated he has stayed in touch with the Tigers, though talks won't likely progress until teams and agents gather in Indianapolis next week for baseball's Winter Meetings.

"We've each expressed mutual interest," Meister said. "We'll have a chance to sit down with them and talk about him at the Winter Meetings."

Detroit's last compensation pick was a first-round sandwich selection for reliever Jamie Walker, who signed quickly with the Orioles following the 2006 season before the Tigers had to decide on arbitration.

Detroit's other three free agents this offseason -- Adam Everett, Aubrey Huff and Jarrod Washburn -- were not offered arbitration. They didn't qualify as Type A or B free agents, so they wouldn't have brought any compensation picks in return.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola


Last edited by GoGetEmTigers on Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Tigers offer arbitration to Rodney, Lyon but they turn it down   Tue Dec 01, 2009 8:29 pm

Last Updated: December 01. 2009 6:52PM
Tigers' decision on Polanco clears path for Scott Sizemore
Lynn Henning / The Detroit News

Scott Sizemore's broken leg is mending reassuringly, as doctors predicted, and as the Tigers hope -- really hope -- will be confirmed when spring training begins in two months.

Sizemore, after all, is now officially the Tigers' new and uncontested starting second baseman.

The transition became all but final Tuesday when the Tigers decided against offering 2010 salary arbitration to Placido Polanco. The 34-year-old Gold Glove winner is free to sign with another club, minus any draft pick compensation to the Tigers, who decided they could not risk the heavy salary an arbitrator might have granted Polanco in 2010.

"We think the world of Polly," said Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski, "but we think he would have accepted the arbitration. If a club is going to make that arbitration offer, you need to be prepared to take on that figure."

Looking at realities from Polanco's perspective, Dombrowski added: "Sometimes you don't get more in free agency than you would get in arbitration."

That's what the Tigers ultimately concluded. They feared that in a dramatically changed market, with teams less inclined to spend and more covetous of their draft picks, other clubs would have balked not only at offering Polanco a fat multi-year deal, but at losing a premier draft pick (a first-rounder for teams that finished in the top half of 2009 clubs; a second-round pick for teams that finished in the bottom half ). Either pick would have gone to the Tigers as compensation for signing Polanco, a Type A free agent.

The Tigers did offer arbitration to their two Type B free agents, relievers Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon. If either should sign with another club, the Tigers will receive a "sandwich" pick, courtesy of Major League Baseball, between the first and second rounds of the June 2010 draft.

A sandwich pick would also have been awarded the Tigers had Polanco signed elsewhere. What stood at one point as potentially a draft bonanza for the Tigers 2010 could now be a more minimalist event. Jarrod Washburn and Aubrey Huff, who were either in compensation status, or on the cusp of being Type A or B free agents when the Tigers traded for them in late summer, fell from grace when each was injured (Washburn) or nosedived (Huff) during the regular season's final weeks.

Neither they, nor free-agent shortstop Adam Everett, was offered arbitration.

For reasons more important than draft picks, the Tigers did decide to make arbitration available to Rodney and Lyon. Each right-hander could prove vital to a 2010 bullpen that figures to be seriously diminished if both relief pitchers move to new clubs.

Polanco could yet be re-signed by the Tigers as a free agent. But that appears unlikely with Sizemore in the wings and with smaller budgets now part of the Tigers' business reality.

Polanco will remain one of Dombrowki's all-time trophy trades. He was acquired by the Tigers in June of 2005 from Philadelphia in a straight-up deal for reliever Ugueth Urbina, who later went to prison in Venezuela.

Polanco became one of the steadiest hitters, and most impeccable fielders, among all big-league second basemen.

In his 4 ˝ seasons in Detroit, Polanco batted .311. From his Tigers debut through 2007 he made only nine errors, and only two in 2009.


Sizemore will not be Polanco's equal in the field, but the 24-year-old second baseman is expected to be a more powerful hitter with more capacity to produce runs. Sizemore batted a combined .308 in 130 games at Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo in 2009. He had 17 home runs and 66 RBIs.

Sizemore is still on crutches and recovering from a broken leg suffered during the early days of the autumn Arizona Fall League. He broke the fibula in his left leg, and suffered a lesser fracture to the tibia, when a baserunner slid into him on an attempted double play.

"It seems to be coming along pretty good," Sizemore said Tuesday from his home outside Richmond, Va. "I'll be meeting with the doctors on Thursday. But they've told me I have a pretty good chance of being ready for the start of spring training."

Sizemore got the word Tuesday that the Tigers had declined arbitration for Polanco. He got the obvious message: Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland are counting on him starting at second base.

"It's awesome to know I'm even more in the picture than I might have thought previously," said Sizemore, who turns 25 next month. "But right now, all I'm really counting on is getting healthy."

As are his employers.

lynn.henning@detnews.com


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PostSubject: Re: Tigers offer arbitration to Rodney, Lyon but they turn it down   Tue Dec 01, 2009 10:33 pm

Polanco could've made a cash grab
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on December 1, 2009 at 5:23 PM

Talked with Dave Dombrowski this afternoon about their decisions on arbitration to free agents, and his remarks echoed the sentiments that were out there. While Dombrowski isn't bidding farewell to Polanco and plans to keep in touch with his agents, the Levinson brothers, he indicated there was a real chance -- maybe more than a chance -- that Polanco might have accepted an arbitration offer and gone to a hearing.

Good deal, right? The Tigers would get Polanco on a one-year contract.

Actually, it's not that simple.

The risk, Dombrowski said, was that Polanco would go to a hearing and ask for more money than the Tigers would be comfortable doing. It sounds unlikely in this market until you consider long-term contracts last winter for other All-Star second basemen, such as Brian Roberts ($10 million per year) and Dustin Pedroia (6 years, $40.5 million, including $31 million over the final three seasons). They also could've used other free-agent infielders as a reference point.

No fault in doing so; I just wanted to use the term "cash grab" in a headline.

As it is, Polanco instantly becomes a hotter commodity on the market now that teams don't have to give up a first- or second-round Draft pick for him.

The relievers, Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon, were a different story. Dombrowski essentially confirmed what others such as agent Barry Meister have suggested, that Rodney and Lyon are looking for multi-year deals and stand a decent chance to get them.

"I would be very surprised if either of them accepted [arbitration]," Dombrowski said.

That said, interestingly, Dombrowski didn't write off Detroit's chances of re-signing them, either. He'll keep in touch with their agents -- Rodney is also a Levinson client -- and see where it goes. Even as Meister fully expects to get a multi-year deal for Lyon, he said there's mutual interest from the two parties in re-signing.

Could the Tigers be open to a multi-year contract to keep a reliever? I don't think you can write that off quite yet. But they might have to clear some payroll space to do it.


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PostSubject: Re: Tigers offer arbitration to Rodney, Lyon but they turn it down   Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:30 am

Lyon, Rodney turn down arbitration
Immediate free agents expected to be highly sought

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

12/08/09 1:19 AM EST

INDIANAPOLIS -- Free-agent relievers Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney declined arbitration offers from the Tigers late Monday, preferring to pursue multi-year deals on the open market.

Neither decision was a particular surprise. Both had expressed a desire for long-term deals, something not likely to come from Detroit while the Tigers deal with budget issues. Both hurlers seem to be in a position to talk about multi-year contracts on this market, though reports earlier Monday suggested the Phillies were not likely to meet Lyon's demands.

Lyon's agent, Barry Meister, said late Monday night that he'll continue to talk with the Tigers about a contract, refusing to close the door on a return for his client. Detroit, too, wasn't writing off the idea of talking with either free agent.

For now, however, the Tigers are left without an experienced closer in their bullpen for the time being.

When asked earlier Monday, Dombrowski indicated he didn't have a feeling whether the team would go with experience or youth in the closer's role next year.

"We're talking about a lot of different things right now," Dombrowski said. "And there's still a long time to go in the winter. Last year, I guess we didn't sign Brandon Lyon until January, and we didn't know if it was going to be Lyon or Rodney as our closer.

"We've got [Joel] Zumaya as a wild card. I've been talking to our trainer, and [Zumaya] feels great at this point. I don't know which way we'll go, but I think we'll have enough people out there that will determine that. Somebody always closes games for you."

Rodney closed out 37 saves for the Tigers last season, to go with a 4.40 ERA and 75 2/3 innings. The 32-year-old is expected to be one of the more valued closers on the market, in part because he will not cost teams a Draft pick to sign. Detroit would receive a compensation pick near the end of the second round if he signs with another team.

Lyon saved just three games for Detroit, but his 2.86 ERA and 56 hits allowed over 78 2/3 innings made him one of baseball's more valuable setup men. Like Rodney, he's a Type B free agent, earning the Tigers a compensation pick if he signs elsewhere.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Tigers offer arbitration to Rodney, Lyon but they turn it down   Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:41 pm

I wish we could have at least kept Lyon.
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PostSubject: Re: Tigers offer arbitration to Rodney, Lyon but they turn it down   Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:42 pm

Tigers are still trying for Lyon, but a three year contract is out of the question.


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PostSubject: Re: Tigers offer arbitration to Rodney, Lyon but they turn it down   Tue Dec 08, 2009 10:44 pm

So we're stocking up on people that did good in Korea and in the minors? We need real quality in the pen.

We have Seay (thank the Lord)
Perry
Miner
the FA we just signed from Korea.
Willis should get his shit together quick. I'm tired of his shit.
I can't even think of anyone else in the pen. That's kinda how upset I am.
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PostSubject: Re: Tigers offer arbitration to Rodney, Lyon but they turn it down   Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:38 am

gdennis59 wrote:
So we're stocking up on people that did good in Korea and in the minors? We need real quality in the pen.

We have Seay (thank the Lord)
Perry
Miner
the FA we just signed from Korea.
Willis should get his shit together quick. I'm tired of his shit.
I can't even think of anyone else in the pen. That's kinda how upset I am.

Phil Coke and Schlereth probably will be in the pen.


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: Tigers offer arbitration to Rodney, Lyon but they turn it down   Wed Dec 09, 2009 4:30 pm

GoGetEmTigers wrote:
gdennis59 wrote:
So we're stocking up on people that did good in Korea and in the minors? We need real quality in the pen.

We have Seay (thank the Lord)
Perry
Miner
the FA we just signed from Korea.
Willis should get his shit together quick. I'm tired of his shit.
I can't even think of anyone else in the pen. That's kinda how upset I am.

Phil Coke and Schlereth probably will be in the pen.

I've still been fed up with Willis since he got here. rant
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