Arbitration offers for Lyon, Rodney

The Tigers decided to offer arbitration to relievers Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney, but not to take the risk with second baseman Placido Polanco. We didn’t really learn too much by these moves that we weren’t already expecting. If nobody were offered it may have signaled that the Tigers were as poor as everyone speculated. If everyone were offered it would either mean the Tigers weren’t really financially restricted or that Scott Sizemore’s injury wouldn’t allow him to be ready. Instead we’re somewhere in the middle.

The good news with Lyon and Rodney is that the Tigers stand to gain high draft picks if either player is signed by another team. If they accept arbitration the Tigers will have a couple relievers on one year deals for about $5 million apiece. However, Dave Dombrowski doesn’t expect either player to accept but he also didn’t rule out signing either player. With Lyon in particular I could see the team willing to sign him to a 2 year deal.

With Polanco it is one of those tough decisions, but one that is right. Polanco was part of the renaissance of baseball in Detroit and was an easy guy to root for. He played hard, never complained, and was remarkably steady. And while he was probably overrated by many fans for his batting average, he was the guy I felt most comfortable with at the plate in a key situation (yes, I know his career .307 BAISP isn’t appreciably different than his overall .303 BA it is still a pretty good clip and the fact that he’d find a way to put the ball in play made me “feel” better).

But for a change the Tigers actually have a position player prospect poised to take over a position of need in Scott Sizemore. He isn’t being rushed or pushed up for a spark or as an injury replacement. Scouts feel he can hit at the big league level now and his minor league numbers show he can transfer his tools to production.

Now the decision to let Polanco go is different than the decision to offer him arbitration. By not offering him arbitration Polanco will not fetch the team additional draft picks. The lack of a compensation pick also makes Polanco much more attractive to potential suitors. So when he ultimately signs a 2-3 year deal with someone, there will be complaints that the Tigers missed out. The complainers though have to realize that Polanco’s market shrinks with a compensation pick attached and that multi-year offer likely wouldn’t be there.

22 thoughts on “Arbitration offers for Lyon, Rodney”

  1. Are there any rules on trading arbitration guys? If not, I would have absolutely offered Polanco arbitration. The worst case scenario is that you extra, proven player with a reasonable-ish contract. I don’t spent much time following other teams’ needs, but someone out there would trade at least a mediocre prospect for a 1-year rent-to-own of Polanco. Even if they couldn’t move him before spring training, they could easily trade him to the first team that suffers a 2B injury.

    The only way not offering makes sense is if there are rules in place to prevent the above strategy or if it would come off as disrespectful and harm DD’s reputation amongst players.

  2. Billfer’s got feelings? Ha! It kills me to see Polly go, but he was pure gold for the Tigers. Dave did the right thing. (imo)

  3. I’d hate to see us lose both Rodney and Lyon. Fernando just seems to have finally gotten comfortable with himself here in Detroit, and Lyon regained his form. I read something a few weeks ago about Lyon visiting with Laird to celebrate G$$$’s birthday. Just gettin comfortable. Hope he doesn’t have to go.

  4. Thanks as always for the breakdown BIlfer.

    I do not know a lot about Sizemore but it is time to direct some attention his way I suppose. Speculating on his potential impact with the Tigers will be a lot of fun this off season. It is kind of exciting to see a position player from “the farm” have a shot to be a main contributor.

    Lyon was just dreadful last spring but his turn around as the season wore on was intriguing to watch. I am in agreement that I would be happy to see him with the Tigers next year.

    On a side note, a friend of mine recently moved to California, I believe Newport Beach or nearby, and is neighbors with Casey Fien. Fien told him he was excited to be competing for the “newly opened closer position.” I guess that means the bullpen (or Fien at the least) doesn’t believe Rodney will be back. I have no idea if this was based on Tiger player gossip or something Rodney told teammates.

    Or Casey is just a super-confident young man. 🙂

    Either way, I thought it was an interesting thing to say when most Tiger followers view Rodney’s potential of coming back as undecided.

    1. You could probably chalk that up to Fien being very, very confident in himself. Legend has it that he told someone in the organization who was involved in drafting him that he wasn’t 25th or whatever round he went in talent, that they were getting a steal at that slot. He also apparently told his college coach that he would be starting Sunday games in addition to closing Friday games because he was better than the Sunday starter.

      Not a bad quality to have as a reliever. He’s probably overstating his case, but he’ll likely be getting big outs at some point this season.

      1. Since Fien was on of the few in the 2006 draft to make it to Detroit he may not have been too far out of line with his comment (which is hearsay and taken out of context probably). If I remember right, he was the Friday reliever and Sunday starter his Senior year at Cal Poly but I don’t believe they had a Sunday starter to begin with. They had tried several at the position before putting Fien there as a regular. As for the comment about closer, again hearsay and out of context, if asked, of course any player in his position would want to come across confident and prepared.

  5. Well, now it seems just about every team is interested in Lyon. If Detroit can’t offer him a 2 year deal, you know he’s gonna go elsewhere. Will we even recognize our team next spring?

    1. 3 years and 18 million is about 2 years and 14 million too much for a player of Polanco’s declining value. I can’t believe Philly would throw that much money at him when he is essentially Feliz’s equal at the plate and they were quite happy to let him walk.

      1. Although I think they may have over payed, I disagree that he is essentially Feliz’s equal at the plate. Polly’s SO rate is substantially lower than Feliz’s and Philly has a SO heavy lineup. I imagine they’re looking for some consistency although they payed quite a bit for it.

  6. To play 3rd base, no less. I wish him the best. Oh, I could just cry. Remember how he jumped around 3rd on his way home after Maggs hit the big one?

  7. Good Luck Polly, glad I got my Polanco t-shirt before it was too late. Even tho we knew it was coming its still a lil sad.

  8. Philly just got took. That much money for a guy playing a new position who can’t get on base or hit for power? With a ceiling of like 135 games per season and clearly on the downside? I honestly thought there was a chance the Tigs would bring him back for a one year in the 6 mill range, and I’d have been cool with it. But if something like this was available, much like Jamie Walker a couple years back, goodbye and good luck.

    1. The crime is that the Tigers didn’t even offer arbitration to get a draft pick. If he would have accepted then you have your one year scenario that you talked about. Just an idiotic move by Dombrowski.

      1. Don’t beat DD up over this. If the Tigers offer arbitration and he declines, signing Polly costs the Phillies a first round pick. That makes him much less attractive and they probably don’t sign him. Thus, no draft pick that way either.

        If Polly accepts arbitration, you’ve got him on your team to do what, exactly? Play every day at a declining level for $6 million or so? When you’ve got a low-cost option in Sizemore who is likely to get better? And what about after next season? You’re right back in the same spot.

  9. If Polly had accepted arbitration, he could have made up to $10mil for just that one year. Tigers cant afford that kind cash right now.

    I will miss him though, he was my favorite Tiger *sniff*

    ..on the other hand, at least he didnt sign with the Redsox!

  10. I’m happy that the Sizemore era finally begins. I think everyone pretty much knew it was Polanco’s last season as a Tiger back in Spring Training. Back then, I thought for sure he would get traded during the season because I thought the Tigers woulnd be sellers, but we were buyers and in 1st place instead.

    The Tigers probably didn’t want to offer Polanco arbitration for a few reasons.
    1st – we won’t need to reserve a spot for him on the 40 man roster.
    2nd- we won’t get stuck with more draft picks. In the 2009 draft, Fields, Turner, and Oliver cost the Tigers $7.8 in just their signing bonus money. If a team like the Tigers needs to save money, not spending it on prospects is probably the wise thing to do.
    3rd- we couldn’t risk Polanco accepting arbitration.
    4th- we planned on playing Sizemore at 2nd base.

Comments are closed.