Arbitration can be a fairly straightforward ordeal. You can arb a guy in his first and second year, and still sign him to a long-term contract his third year. If you arb him all three years you can pretty much say goodbye to him in free agency the next season.

Choosing when to sign a player to a long-term deal varies on his age and money he wants. It typically doesn’t pay to sign a guy his first year eligible. They usually are only asking for less than two million. The second year is when it becomes a question, because usually there is only about a million or so between their long-term demands and arbitration demands.

A player demanding three, or four years will always except a longer contract, granted that the salary per years is equal. Carl Parrish was demanding four years at $6.5 million. I just tacked on an extra year at the same amount, and now I have him locked until he’s 32, at which time he’ll probably still be a Type A free agent.

The other players I have arb eligible are all in their first year.

Ed Stockton is demanding $1.8 million in arbitration, or $6.0 million a year for three years. No-brainer there. The real question will be do I ever lock him up long-term. If I take him to arbitration all three years, he’ll enter the free agent market at 33. I’m leaning towards that right now, but I’ll cross that bridge later.

Howard Blake, one of the best hitters in the game, wants $1.5 million this year, or $4.8 million a year long-term. Once again, arb him this year, look to sign long-term next year.

Vinny Martin, is one of my three main relievers that I use. I don’t use a closer, because they are overrated. Look at what John Clayton has done for me the past two years. It’d be a waste to limit his innings to 60 or so when I can get 100+. Anyway, Martin spent most of last year injured. Therefore, he wants only $360k this year. Once again, no-brainer.


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