Phils Would Be Unwise To Offer Oswalt Arbitration

Posted by Corey Seidman, Tue, November 01, 2011 09:00 AM | Comments: 14
Arbitration, Offseason, Transactions

As divulged by MLB Trade Rumors Monday, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson and Roy Oswalt have been classified as Type A free agents, while Brad Lidge and Raul Ibanez garnered Type B titles.

Offering Roy Oswalt arbitration would be way too risky.

Type A free agents, if they are offered and decline arbitration, bring back two early draft picks if signed by another team. The top 15 teams in baseball surrender their first round pick and a sandwich pick (between first and second round) to the old team if they sign the free agent, while the bottom 15 teams give up their second round pick and a sandwich pick. So if the Phillies offer Ryan Madson arbitration and he declines then signs with the Nationals, the Phillies would get the Nats’ second-rounder and a sandwich pick. Make that first-rounder and sandwich pick, because the Nationals had the 15th best record. (Why did I have to pick the most confusing example?)

The Phillies will almost certainly offer arbitration to Rollins and Madson. If either accepts (which they won’t), they would be back with the Phillies next year for a salary that cannot be lower than 80 percent of last year’s figure or 70 percent of the figure from two years prior.

Neither player would accept arbitration because both Rollins and Madson are seeking long-term financial commitments. But how about Oswalt? Would the Phillies offer him arbitration?

Probably not. Teams don’t typically decline an option and then offer arbitration. The upside to offering Oswalt arbitration would be acquiring two early draft picks if he rejects and signs elsewhere. The downside would be if Oswalt accepts, he would command a salary similar to the $16 million he made in 2011.

The Phillies were recently burned by a player unexpectedly accepting arbitration, so Ruben Amaro would likely prefer not to take the risk. Placido Polanco was offered arbitration prior to the 2005 season and accepted, putting the Phillies in a bind as some guy named Chase Utley was waiting in the wings.

David Bell was coming off the best year of his career and there was no room for Polanco – which was unfortunate, because Polly was entering his prime and would be infinitely better in the future than a soon-to-be-cooked Bell. Polanco played all over the place in that 2005 season, even seeing time in left field. He was eventually traded for Ugueth Urbina.

The Phils would be overjoyed if Rollins or Madson accept arbitration, but that is about as likely as Ryan Mathews staying healthy for a full Chargers game. With Oswalt, the risk of his accepting outweighs the reward of a few early picks.

Avatar of Corey Seidman

About Corey Seidman

Corey Seidman has written 210 articles on Phillies Nation.

Corey is Analysis Editor for Phillies Nation and also writes for CSNPhilly.com.

  • Posts: 4133 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    Corey, When does Oswalt’s buy-out officially get paid, do you know? Has it already happened?

    I’m stating the obvious, but it really makes no sense if they paid that too.

  • Posts: 0 JMills

    I could live with Oswalt for another year at 12.8 million. I say take the gamble because I think he will get a three year offer from some team.

  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    I think Oswalt gets a two-year deal, tops, from another team. I dont see him making off with three after the issues this past year.

    I would like to see him back here next year, but if he comes back, thats 1/3 of the money they have to play with this offseason. If you can unload half of Blanton’s salary, then maybe you offer Oswalt 1 year, $10 million? Not even sure if thats enough anymore.

  • Posts: 0 George

    It would be stupid to offer Oswalt arbitration. For one thing, first round picks are not guaranteed, because if Oswalt signs with one of those 15 bottom teams, you get only second round and sandwich.

    For another, I’m sure Oswalt is aware that he’s going to have to take a pay cut in his next contract, and would therefore leap for joy to rejoin the Phils at about the same money as last year.

  • Posts: 2067 Brooks

    Avatar of Brooks

    I would hope that Rube would at least speak with Roy or his agent and try to tender an offer that would be reasonable.

    Try to be practical (them I mean), Roy’s portfolio, playing for one of the worst franchise’s this side of the Phils of the 60′s (dig) is pretty impressive. Also impressive is the fact that his velocity seemed to be as strong in his last few outtings as it was 7 or 8 years ago (94 mph).
    Of course on the downside – $16 mil?
    Age, nagging injuries.

    Offer him $10 mil for one year – or perhaps 12 something like JM said. Wish for the best.

    • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

      During Oswalt’s nine seasons in Houston, they made the post season three times (once as a division winner and twice as a wild card). They had one WS appearance and five second place finishes. They really weren’t that bad…definitely no comparison to the awful Phillies teams of the ’60s!

  • Posts: 399 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    I don’t think Oswalt will be offered arbitration either but I do see a number of ways the Phillies opt to resign him. I think 2/$22 mil would get the job done.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff Dowder

    Isn’t the rule that if the Phillies don’t offer Oswalt arbitration they then cannot negotiate with him until May 1? Or has that been changed?

    • Posts: 0 George

      If memory serves, that may have been the rule a number of years and one or two Collective Bargaining Agreements ago. It no longer is the case, though.

  • Posts: 399 Ian Riccaboni

    Avatar of Ian Riccaboni

    @Jeff – I don’t believe that is the case. I believe they have been able to negotiate since his buyout was completed.

  • Posts: 0 Chris

    I think the Phillies should spend a whopping zero dollars on starting pitching this offseason. There isn’t really a need. Even if you could get Oswalt for 10 mill it isn’t worth it. Consider the budget the Phillies are under. I’d rather have Rollins or Madson back than sign Oswalt on a team that will get on just fine with Halladay, Lee, Hamels and Worley.

    • Posts: 0 George

      Halladay, Lee, Hamels, and Worley might be fine for four rotation spots, but five is the usual number. Number five could, of course, be Blanton, who now is a question mark, health wise, or it could be Kendrick, who has only shown flashes of effectiveness and is probably best off as a swing man. If anyone else got injured, you’d be in real trouble without at least one more guy.

      • Posts: 2920 Chuck A.

        Avatar of Chuck A.

        Kendrick is a fine long reliever/spot starter….but that’s about it. He’s really not a pitcher that’s fit STRICTLY for the rotation. And, yeah, Blanton is a huge question mark. But I can’t say I’m for blowing the bank on Oswalt, either.

      • Posts: 0 Chris

        Yes George we need 5 guys. We have two such warm bodies on the roster that can fill the role of 5th starter. One of which at a much cheaper rate and the other one we’re stuck with.

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