So far this offseason, the Dodgers have re-signed three of their nine free agents. Will they bring back Rod Barajas and/or Scott Podsednik as well? Tomorrow will give us some idea of the club's intentions. Tuesday is the deadline for clubs to offer arbitration to their free agents, in order to receive compensation should they sign elsewhere.
All players are ranked by the Elias Sports Bureau using statistics from the last two seasons to rank players, and those rankings are used to determine free agent compensation should they leave. Both Barajas and Podsednik are Type B free agents, meaning they are ranked in the top 40%, but not in their top 20% of their respective positions. Offering arbitration to a Type B free agent nets a supplemental 2011 draft pick in between the first and second rounds, should the free agent sign with another team. Unlike with Type A free agents, the signing team does not forfeit a draft pick.
There are two sides to offering arbitration. If the player accepts, he is bound to the club for one year. The two sides will exchange salary figures sometime before January 18, and if they can't come to a contract agreement will head into an arbitration hearing scheduled some time between February 1-21. If the player declines, the team gets a draft pick when the player signs elsewhere. Declining arbitration does not prevent the player from re-signing with his old team, as used to be the case.
Barajas, 35, hit .240/.284/.447 with 17 home runs and 47 RBI in 99 games. He was claimed off waivers from the Mets on August 22, and went on a tear with his hometown team, hitting .297/.361/.578 with five home runs and 13 RBI in 25 games. He made $500,000 last year plus incentives. The smile never left Barajas' face since he arrived in Los Angeles, and general manager Ned Colletti tends to like players who like playing here, so I expect the Dodgers will offer arbitration to Barajas, and happily take him back for one year if he accepts.
Podsednik, who turns 35 in March, was another midseason acquisition, acquired from the Royals on July 28. The speedy yet light-hitting Podsednik hit just .262/.313/336 as a Dodger, and he didn't run much either, stealing just five bases in eight attempts in 39 games in Los Angeles. His season was cut short in early September by plantar fasciitis. He made $1.65 million last year, but declined a $2 million mutual option to return in 2011. The Dodgers wanted him back at $2 million, and I doubt he would earn substantially more in arbitration. I think the Dodgers take the risk and offer arbitration to Podsednik, content with his return on a one-year deal.
In other news, the Dodgers signed left-handed pitcher Dana Eveland to a minor league contract, according to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The 27-year old has a 6.96 ERA over the last two seasons, split between Oakland, Toronto, and Pittsburgh, with 58 walks and 46 strikeouts in 98 1/3 innings over 25 games, including 19 starts.