Minnesota Twins' Arbitration Deadline Decisions

It's not always easy to know what a player will do with arbitration. The market will dictate a lot of that decision, but so will ego, role and potential playing time. Here's how I imagine things will turn out by tomorrow. How does it differ from what you think?

Matt Guerrier, Type-A free agent
2010 salary:
$3.15 MM
2011 age: 32
Estimated 2011 salary through arbitration: $5 MM

As far as I'm concerned, for Guerrier it all comes down to one question: in what is a very competetive and flush market for relief pitchers, would he be able to pick up a multi-year deal? My guess is that yes, he would. Teams are always looking for relief pitching. This includes the Twins this season, but if they go for any free agent relief pitchers they won't be high-salary guys. That rules out Guerrier.

Team Prediction: Arbitration offered
Player Prediction: Declined

Carl Pavano, Type-A free agent
2010 salary:
$7 MM
2011 age: 35
Estimated 2011 salary through arbitration: $10 MM

I love Pavano. Everyone knows I do. But in a market where he's the second-best starter on the market, with maybe the exception of Jorge De La Rosa, I doubt he'll be turning down the chance to cash in on one last big paycheck. It would be irresponsible for the Twins to hand him a multi-year contract that pays double-digit millions every year, and luckily for all of us they won't do it. He'll sign somewhere, quite possibly in the National League, for three years and $30-$35 million. Au revoir, Carl.

Team Prediction: Arbitration offered
Player Prediction: Declined

Jesse Crain, Type-B free agent
2010 salary:
$2 MM
2011 age: 29
Estimated 2011 salary through arbitration: $4 million

Crain was the team's best relief pitcher once the weather got warm and he started dealing out generous portions of his slider. For that reason he's the only one of our free agent relievers who I'd attempt to bring back, but he wants to close. I don't doubt that some team out there will give him that opportuniy. If he's explored the market, as I'm sure he has, whether he accepts or declines the Twins' offer will depend entirely on how much interest there is. It's possible he accepts, or that the Twins bring him back on a two-year deal, but I anticipate him leaving.

Team Prediction: Arbitration offered
Player Prediction: Declined

Brian Fuentes, Type-B free agent
2010 salary:
$9 million
2011 age: 35
Estimated 2011 salary through arbitration: $9+ million

There are a lot of people out there who would love to see Fuentes back in a Twins uniform next spring. Joe Nathan is a huge question mark, and we all know that Matt Capps is going to go through rough stretches. Plus, if you want a guaranteed out with a lefty at the plate, this is your guy. But in reality, it's not going to happen. Once he hits the open market, the Twins would quickly be out-bid by teams looking to guarantee him the role of The Closer. So, to keep him the Twins would have to offer arbitration, and with that salary there's just no way. The Twins could risk offering him arbitration, hoping the lure of Saves and a multi-year deal would be enough, but no one in their right mind would turn down $9 million guaranteed. Minnesota can't spend $25 million (plus) on three bullpen arms (Nathan, Capps, Fuentes).

Team Prediction: Arbitration not offered

Orlando Hudson, Type-B free agent
2010 salary:
$5 million
2011 age: 33
Estimated 2011 salary through arbitration: $6.5 million

I had a Twitter conversation with Nick Nelson earlier today on this topic, and he says that his people "in the know" say there's a good chance that Hudson would accept and offer of aribtration. That's hard to see, but to play devil's advocate--there is a chance that Hudson enjoyed his time in Minnesota so much that he'd forego being the best second baseman on the free agent market. Or that he's tired of constantly moving teams, and by staying with the Twins he knows he'll get playing time on a contending club. It's possible. But from my (admittedly outsider's) perspective he falls into the same category as Pavano: Hudson is nearing the tail end of his career and is coming off a decent year. If he wants to cash in on a big contract one more time, he might not get a more perfect situation than the one facing him this winter.

Team Prediction: Aribtration offered
Player Prediction: Declined

Jon Rauch, Type-B free agent
2010 salary:
$2.9 MM
2011 age: 32
Estimated 2011 salary through arbitration: $3.5 million

This is totally subjective, but do you know what I really liked about Rauch (other than the fact that he looks like he'd rather shank you than look at you)? I like that he was one of the Twins who didn't look like he wanted to piss himself while facing the Yankees. I know, it's a terrible reason to like a guy because it's based on nothing, but I bought into it. As far as Rauch is concerned with the 2011 Twins, he's one guy where the organization is in a no-lose situation. If he declines an arbitration offer, he'll definitely find a job somewhere and Minnesota will get yet another pick next June. But if he accepts, he's not making an unfathomable amount of money, he's reliable, he's durable, and he'll lend that high-turnover 'pen some consistency. He's a no-brainer.

Team Prediction: Arbitration offered
Player Prediction: Aribtration Accepted

What do you all think?

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