Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Red Sox tender offers

The Red Sox roster is starting to take shape.   Last night, the team signed reliever Matt Albers to a one-year contract, and tendered contract offers to pitchers Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, and Franklin Morales, as well as position players Mike Aviles, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

"Tendered" contracts offers?  Does that mean these players now have signed contracts?  Well, not exactly. 

Many of the players on the Red Sox have signed contracts that through 2012 or beyond.  You know the names:  Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett, John Lackey. 

But others don't.  And if the team doesn't make (or "tender") an offer to them before the tender deadline (generally in the second week of December), they become free agents.

With regard to some players, it is a no-brainer to offer them contracts.  For instance, playes with fewer than three years of service (with certain exceptions) generally don't have options other than to accept a low contract offer.

But then there are other players who have previously had low contracts, but have now become eligible for arbitration.  The way arbitration works is like this.  The team and the player each submit a one-year salary offer to the arbitrator.  The arbitrator then chooses one of two salary offers, based on which one is closes to the salaries of other players with similar abilities and playing time.  That means, the team can't afford to lowball their offer too much, or the arbitrator will pick the player's salary offer instead (which likely will be for more than what the player is worth.)

Almost certainly, players like Jacoby Ellsbury and Daniel Bard are going to see huge bumps in their salaries through the salary arbitration process -- and rightly so.  The Red Sox won't know how much until the arbitration process is complete, but for now, the Sox have committed to keep them around.

The one player who (probably) won't be around is reliever Rich Hill.  He wasn't tendered an offer, and so will became a free agent.  Apparently, the Sox were not confident that he would be able to come back from his Tommy John surgery on June 9.

Now, it's time for the Red Sox to look around for players from other teams who weren't tendered offers, and have become free agents.  Joe Saunders, anyone?

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