Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Mere Formality

Yesterday was the deadline for arbitration-eligible players to officially file for arbitration. It should come as no surprise that, pretty much, any player eligible for arbitration actually took the trouble to file (Why wouldn't a player file? The only reason I can think of is having a bad agent . . . ).

For the record, here are the Twins who filed for arbitration:

C - Joe Mauer
1B - Justin Morneau
RF - Michael Cuddyer (who is listed as a 3B on the MLB list . . . hehehe)
3B - Nick Punto
OF - Lew Ford
RP - Juan Rincon

The only player that I had as arbitration eligible for the Twins that didn't file is outfielder Jason Tyner - but I'm assuming that my calculations (which had him at 3 years, 51 days of service time as of the end of the 2006 season) were wrong, or he was otherwise ineligible - because I can't think of any other reason for Tyner not to file. If anybody knows the answer to this question, please let me know in the comments or via e-mail.

Now comes the really interesting part - actually determining who will and who won't go through the arbitration process. The Twins often come to an agreement with players (usually by splitting the difference between requested salaries) before the hearing takes place, and this year there is reason to believe that they will try to lock up Mauer, Morneau, and/or Cuddyer to a long-term deal before going to arbitration.

The schedule from here on out looks like this:

January 16 - players and team exchange arbitration figures
February 1-21 - Arbitration Hearings

So, we should know fairly quickly which players are likely to come to an agreement with the team before a hearing (basically, any player that is not far about from the teams offered salary is a likely pre-hearing signing). And there is still a fair amount of time to negotiate contracts even if Twins players are assigned to early hearing dates.

For the record, I expect the Twins to come to a long-term deal with Joe Mauer this off-season, and to operate on a one-year contract with Morneau and Cuddyer to allow them more flexibility going into the 2007 off-season. Either way, the Twins will have these guys around for at least three more years before free agency rears its ugly head.


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