Cubs decisions on arbitration day

Today is an important day for MLB clubs, as they have until midnight EST to offer arbitration to players who have declared for free agency. For the Cubs, that includes Henry Blanco, Jim Edmonds, Chad Fox, Bob Howry, Jon Lieber, Daryle Ward and Kerry Wood.

Two of those free agents — Wood and Howry — would bring draft-pick compensation if they are offered arbitration and instead sign with another team. Both are Type A free agents (ranked in the top 20 percent of their position over the last two years), so the Cubs would be compensated with two draft choices: a first or second round pick and a sandwich pick between those two rounds.

So general manager Jim Hendry and his staff have to weigh the chance that Howry or Wood accept arbitration — and thus will get a high-value, one-year contract with the team — against the value of the draft choices.

Note that the current Basic Agreement, agreed to Oct. 24, 2006, changed a few imporant things about salary arbitration and free agency deadlines:

  • The deadline to offer salary arbitration was moved to Dec. 1 from Dec. 7.
  • Teams no longer must re-sign or offer arbitration to a former player by Dec. 7. Previously, teams that did not meet that deadline would lose the rights to that player until May 1.
  • Players now must decide whether to accept arbitration by Dec. 7, moved from Dec. 19.
  • Type B free agents were redefined from top 21-40 percent from 31-50 and are compensated with a sandwich pick rather than another team’s.
  • Type A free agents were redefined from top 30 percent to top 20. Type C classification was eliminated.

As for the other Cubs players eligible for arbitration …

… players who have between three and six years of major-league service time (plus a select bunch of “super twos”). This batch of arbitration submission happens much later than that for major-league free agents: Club submissions of offers are made between Jan. 5 and Jan. 15, with hearings happening in February.

You can get an up-to-date listing every month this off-season in Vine Line‘s “Roster Tracker” (service time is in years plus days). The current players under the Cubs control who are eligible:

IF Ronny Cedeno, 3+29
LHP Neal Cotts, 4+28
RHP Chad Gaudin, 4+4
RHP Kevin Gregg, 5+2
OF Reed Johnson, 5+145
RHP Michael Wuertz, 3+139

So … any questions?

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