TODAY SHOULD BE an interesting day in baseball, as it is the last day for teams to offer arbitration to their free-agent players. As of midnight, the Phillies might not have to worry about "Type A" and "Type B" designations on some of the players they are targeting.
A quick recap of the system: Free agents are divided into three categories based on a complicated system that rates them based on their performance over the last couple of seasons. The first is "Type A" free agents, who are supposed to be the best of the bunch. Any team that signs a Type A free agent has to send a draft pick, usually its first-rounder, to the player's former club. In addition, MLB gives the player's former club another draft pick in the supplemental round (between the first and the second). A team that loses a "Type B" free agent also receives a supplemental draft pick, but that pick comes from MLB, not from the team that signs the free agent.
In order for a team to be eligible to receive draft picks as compensation for losing a Type A or B free agent, they must offer him arbitration by midnight. This, of course, carries with it the risk of that player accepting, which suddenly leaves his 2010 salary in the hands of an arbitrator.
Scott Eyre and Chan Ho Park are both Type B free agents. The rest of the team's free agents are unclassified. I would assume that the Phillies would offer Park arbitration. They have made it clear that they want to re-sign him. He made $2.5 million last season, and it would seem unlikely that he would accept arbitration.
The real fun begins Dec. 12, which is the last day teams can offer contracts to their non-free agents. At that point, the Phillies will have to make their intentions known with regards to their arbitration-eligible players. The most interesting case in that group is Chad Durbin, who at 5-plus years of service and a $1.635 million salary will be in line for a decent raise. Thus, the Phillies could decide against offering him arbitration, thereby making him a free agent. The Phillies have given no indication that they are contemplating nontendering Joe Blanton, but at 5-plus years of service and a resume comparable to players who have been awarded upwards of $7 million in the past, he is worth mentioning.
Carlos Ruiz and Shane Victorino are both no-brainers to be offered contracts.
- David Murphy