11/29 Looking ahead …
The Cubs were not expected to offer arbitration to Kevin Gregg, Rich Harden, Reed Johnson and Chad Fox by Tuesday’s deadline.
A brief explanation (and I’ll try to keep it simple): Teams that offer their free agents salary arbitration get Draft picks in return if the player signs elsewhere, and the number of picks is based on the player’s rating. To get compensation, a team must offer arbitration to its Type A or B free agent and have that player either reject arbitration or sign before the deadline to reject the said arbitration.
The Elias Sports Bureau determines the designations based on statistical study. Gregg is a Type A free agent, Harden is Type B. Johnson and Fox are non-compensatory. So, if the Cubs did offer arbitration to Gregg and another team signed him, the Cubs could get two Draft picks. One would be a first-round pick from the signing team (if the team’s pick is below the first 15 picks in the Draft) and a supplemental pick. The supplemental pick is a player taken between the first and second rounds.
If the signing team has a pick in the first 15 slots, the team that loses the free agent will get the signing team’s second-round selection and the sandwich pick.A Type B free agent like Harden would be worth one Draft pick to the Cubs if he signs with another team. That pick is a supplemental pick.
Teams that do not offer salary arbitration to free agents who sign elsewhere get nothing in return.
Last year, the Cubs declined to offer arbitration to Kerry Wood, who then signed with the Cleveland Indians.
The upside for a team that does offer arbitration is the additional Draft pick or two. But if the Cubs did offer arbitration to Gregg or Harden, they also would be on the hook for at least a one-year contract at market value, which would likely be an increase from what the player earned the previous season if an offer is accepted. Gregg earned $4.2 million this year, Harden $7 million.
Gregg lost the closer’s job in mid August to Carlos Marmol and the Cubs feel they have enough starting pitching to make up for Harden’s expected exit. GM Jim Hendry has other positions to fill (center field, for example) and a budget.
If the players were offered arbitration, they would have until 10:59 p.m. CT on Dec. 7 to accept and can still negotiate with their former teams, even if they decline the offer. If the player accepts arbitration, the two sides can negotiate a deal but will go before an arbitrator if no agreement is reached.
We’ll get official word on Tuesday.
— Carrie Muskat