D-backs offer arbitration to trio
Arizona declines to extend offers to Dunn, Johnson
PHOENIX -- The Diamondbacks offered salary arbitration to three of their five free-agent players hours before Monday's deadline.
Second baseman Orlando Hudson and relievers Juan Cruz and Brandon Lyon were offered arbitration, while outfielder Adam Dunn and left-hander Randy Johnson were not.
That means that should Hudson, Cruz and Lyon decline arbitration -- they have until Dec. 7 to decide -- and sign with another team, the D-backs will receive compensation picks in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.
Hudson and Cruz are both Type A free agents, meaning Arizona will receive two compensation picks. Lyon is a Type B, so the Diamondbacks would get a "sandwich pick" between the first and second rounds as compensation.
That means the D-backs could receive five extra picks, but just a few months ago they were counting on more.
When they traded for Dunn in July, one of their rationales in giving up young talent for the free-agent-to-be was the Draft compensation they would receive should he depart. However, after assessing the market so far this offseason, the D-backs decided they could not take the risk that Dunn would accept arbitration and better his $13 million he made last year.
"That was a premise of the deal," Arizona GM Josh Byrnes said in regards to getting a pair of draft picks. "The chances at that time were very good, but quite a few things have changed. I think it's fair to say it's maybe a little different situation than we anticipated. The poor economy has affected some things."
Ironically, the decision to not offer Dunn arbitration probably enhances his chances on the open market since the team that signs him will not have to give up a high Draft pick.
The decision to decline to offer Johnson salary arbitration was a far easier one. The left-hander made $10 million last year, plus a $4 million prorated signing bonus, and he certainly would have commanded a salary in the eight figures. Talks between Johnson and the club recently broke off when the D-backs were unwilling to offer more than $3 million to Johnson.
Hudson and Cruz are almost certain to receive multiyear offers on the open market. Hudson, who made $6.25 million last season, is the top second baseman available and should get a lucrative deal from some team. The shortage of quality relievers means Cruz, who made $1.9 million in 2008, could receive a multiyear offer.
Even if one or both decide to accept arbitration, the D-backs would be able to handle the raises they would receive or probably would be able to deal them to another club.
Lyon's slump in the second half of last season, which resulted in him losing the closer job, could limit the amount of a raise from his $3.125 million salary he would get through arbitration and, again, his is a contract the team would be able to move.
The club did not have to offer salary arbitration to free agents Tony Clark and David Eckstein, because they are not Type A or B free agents.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.