We’ve had discussions about whether some arbitration eligible players should be tendered a contract offer or non-tendered. So I thought I’d put together a mega-thread of the players the Royals have to make tender/non-tender decisions on. As a reminder, for arbitration eligible players, the team must offer the player a contract by the non-tender deadline (mid-December), otherwise he becomes a free agent. That offer must be at least 80% of the player’s prior year salary. Arbitration awards are made by evaluating the player’s last two years and comparing him to players with similar performance and service time.
2007 stats 122 ip, 7-7, 1 save, 3.69 ERA
2008 stats 182.1 ip, 10-10, 3.70 ERA
2008 salary $1.4M
2009 arb. est. $4M
My take: Greinke’s relatively low innings pitched in 2007 and lack of wins and saves will keep his arbitration number down (arbitrators love counting stats and aren’t really into advanced metrics). But even at twice that amount, tendering him would be a no-brainer.
2007 stats 544 ab, 7 hr, 60 rbi, .285/.353/.410
2008 stats 505 ab, 12 hr, 48 rbi, .246/.309/.382
2008 salary $2.338M
2009 arb. est. $3-3.5M
My take: This has already been debated ad nauseam, but I think he’d make a good 4-corner utility man. He’s overexposed as a starter corner OFer, but he’d be a good bench guy who gets 300-350 AB’s per season. At roughly $3M, he’s affordable and a good value for the money. The next year’s non-tender call will be tougher and will probably call for a punt.
2007 stats 347 ab, 18 hr, 48 rbi, .222/.308/.429
2008 stats 336 ab, 8 hr, 43 rbi, .220/.298/.360
2008 salary $2.2M
2009 arb. est. $3-3.5M
My take: Buck has been a roughly average catcher as a Royal and still has some upside. $3M is still pretty cheap and affordable given the perpetual shortage of good catchers in professional baseball. As with Teahen, give him one more year and re-evaluate before the next non-tender deadline.
2007 stats 53.2 ip, 4-1, 1 save, 3.02 ERA
2008 stats 27.1 ip, 0-2, 1 save, 10.21 ERA
2008 salary $1.313M
2009 arb. est. $1.75-2.25M
My take: Gooble is a good LOOGY. Hillman refuses to use him as a LOOGY. Hillman will be the Royals manager in 2009. Therefore, Gobble shouldn’t return. Save the $2M and don’t bring in any LOOGY’s or ROOGY’s while Hillman is manager.
2007 stats 165 ip, 12-9, 3.87 ERA
2008 stats 165.2 ip, 7-15, 5.81 ERA
2008 salary $421K
2009 arb. est. $1.75M
My take: He had a good year, then he had a bad year. It’s worth $1.75M to see if Bannister can make adjustments in 2009 and be an effective starting pitcher.
2007 stats 40 ip, 1-1, 4.05 ERA
2008 stats 20.2 ip, 0-3, 5.66 ERA
2008 salary $2.2M
2009 arb. est. $1.76M
My take: The $1.76M figure is 80% of his 2008 salary, by rule the least the Royals could offer Bale. He certainly hasn’t earned it. Bale has good stuff and decent control for a reliever and his peripherals have been much better this year than his ERA, but I still wouldn’t offer him $1.76M. I’d non-tender him and consider attempting to sign him for considerably less (as long as his contract has an team out-clause if he gets any self-induced injuries).
2007 stats 228 ab, 0 hr, 19 rbi, 9 sb, 8 cs, .307/.371/.342
2008 stats 272 ab, 0 hr, 19 rbi, 21 sb, 4 cs, .246/.301/.265
2008 salary $427K
2009 arb. est. $750k-$1M
My take: Any hope that Joey’s 2007 season raised that maybe he’d figured out how to hit was dashed once and for all this season. He can’t hit for contact, he draw a walk and he has no power. He is, however, a good pinch runner and a good defensive replacement for all three OF positions. Mitch Maier is at least as good of a defensive replacement, an ok pinch runner and has more offensive upside than Gathright. What I would do is sign Gathright for about $850K and then trade him. More than a few GM’s would be interested in a very fast, OFer who can play CF, pinch run and steal bases. The Royals could definitely get a C prospect for Gathright, which would make more sense than non-tendering him.
2007 stats 136 ip, 7-15, 6.09 ERA
2008 stats 92 ip, 6-7, 4.70 ERA
2008 salary $325K (prorated league minimum)
2009 arb. est. $750K
My take: So far this season, Davies has pitched at a level which would be acceptable for a 4th starter (4.70 ERA, 4.62 FIP). Going forward, I see him as either a decent 5th starter, an effective long reliever/spot starter or perhaps a genuinely good middle reliever. Regardless, there’s every reason to believe he’d be an asset to major league pitching staff. At $750K, this isn’t a tough call.
2007 stats 509 ab, 2 hr, 47 rbi, .267/.284/.356
2008 stats 206 ab, 1 hr, 11 rbi, .165/.184/.209
2008 salary $405K
2009 est. $405K
My take: Pena is not arbitration eligible. The Royals could keep him for league minimum. They could even DFA him and outright him to the minors where he could be stashed in the hopes that he could iron out his defensive wrinkles. Quite frankly, as long as he gets taken off the 40-man roster, I don’t much care if he’s DFA’d or released. He at least has two tools, which can’t be said for every AAA player (Jason Smith, I’m looking at you). The only risk in keeping Pena in the organization at all is that if he decreases his defensive mistakes, he really is a great fielder. And if Moore and Hillman see his spectacular defense in Omaha at some point, they might be tempted to actually call him up. So, better safe than sorry. DFA, then release.
2007 stats 46.2 ip, 3-5, 1 save, 4.63 ERA
2008 stats 20 ip, 2-1, 5.85 ERA
2008 salary $600K
2009 arb. est. $850K
My take: Ducky will be 33 years old next year. Anything over $600K for a 9th starter in his 30’s to stash in AAA in case of emergency is too much. See ya, Ducky, it’s been fun. I don’t even want to re-sign him for a cheap minor league deal. If Moore and his people can find cheaper reclamation projects like H. Ramirez and Tejeda, then they don’t need older reclamation projects with less talent.
2007 stats 141 ab, 6 hr, 18 rbi, .199/.235/.376
2008 stats 22 ab, 0 hr, 1 rbi, .182/.182/.378
2008 salary $540K
2009 arb. est. $550K
My take: How much is a zero-tool player with horrible stats worth? If you answered “less than major league minimum,” you are correct. There was little reason to offer Little Poppy arbitration last year. There is none to do so this year. He’s not worth his arbitration value or even a minor league deal. He’ll be 31 and he’s below replacement level both with the bat and the glove. A suitable replacement for his limited role can either be found in someone like Angel Sanchez (at least he can field) or off the baseball scrap heap, and for pennies.
2007 stats 2 ip, 0-1, 18.00 ERA
2008 stats none
2008 salary $475K
2009 arb. est. $450k
My take: It is time for Hudson’s injury-filled tenure with the Royals to come to an end. He’ll be 31 and he can’t stay healthy. Non-tendering him is the obvious choice. If they think he’s mostly healthy and still like his stuff, they can sign him to a minor league deal. Meh.
2007 stats 24.2 ip, 0-1, 4.38 ERA
2008 stats none
2008 salary $600K
2009 arb. est. $600K
My take: Remember when someone came onto the site in January and made this post about the Tsao signing and how he was going to be one of the Royals best relievers this year (and that Mahay is a replacement level chump)? It’s kind of like someone breaking into your home naked, shouting that Lyndon LaRouche is America’s savior. Anyway, very predictably, that didn’t happen. What did happen is that Tsao lived up to his reputation as a guy who can’t stay healthy and pitched all of 11.1 minor league innings (5.56 ERA). So of course he won’t be offered arbitration. If in the offseason it looks like there is a 25% chance or greater that he could be healthy this season, then they can sign him to a significantly discounted minor league deal.
I have left Miguel Olivo out of this discussion. It appears that he is one day short of the service time necessary to become a free agent after this season. But, as many have speculated, it is likely that the contract he signed with the Royals – which contains a mutual option for 2009 – includes a clause requiring the Royals to waive their rights to him if the option is not picked up by both sides.
Since I can’t post multiple polls in one post, if you’re interested in voting, just cut and paste this list into your comment and just put a “Yes” beside the player’s name if you’d offer him arbitration or “No” if you’d non-tender him.
Tony Pena, Jr.