Tonight is the arbitration deadline for free agents. The Yankees will extend arbitration to right-fielder Bobby Abreu. I have made it no secret here that I feel Bobby Abreu should be a part of this team in the near future. I really do hope he stays with us.
I see Abreu as one of the most reliable players on the entire Yankee roster. You know what you are getting with a guy like Bobby Abreu as far as offensive production (and contrary to what many think) he still has pretty decent defensive ability. Not bringing back Abreu would leave a big gap in that lineup and in the outfield.
The Yankees intend to offer arbitration to their own free agent, Bobby Abreu, by tonight's midnight deadline.
By offering arbitration, the team essentially presents the player an opportunity to sign for 2009. If a player accepts arbitration, he is considered signed and his salary is determined by a third-party arbitrator - although it's quite common for the two sides to settle on either a one-year or multiyear agreement. The arbitrated salary is not guaranteed until the end of spring training.
The deadline to accept arbitration is midnight on the night of Sunday, Dec. 7. Teams can continue to negotiate with players whom they don't offer arbitration.
Therefore, the Yankees, in offering Abreu arbitration, are indicating that they'd be willing to bring back the rightfielder for next season at a raise from his 2008 salary of $16 million.
Abreu is looking for a multiyear deal and is unlikely to accept arbitration. Should he choose to sign with a different team, the Yankees would receive two draft picks - one in the "sandwich" round between the first and second rounds, the latter in a round to be determined - as compensation.
As far as the situation with Andy Pettitte, the Yankees are looking for him to take a pay cut from his $16-million 2008 salary, so it wouldn't behoove them to offer him arbitration. Pettitte very likely would accept it and then, armed with the arbitration leverage, negotiate a higher paycheck.
Other Yankees free agents who won't be offered arbitration are Jason Giambi, Carl Pavano and Ivan Rodriguez.
Mike Mussina, who announced his retirement Nov. 20, technically still is a free agent, and the Yankees actually got burned five years ago when they didn't offer arbitration to Type A free agent Roger Clemens because they thought he was retiring. He wound up signing with the Astros. While Mussina seems more trustworthy than Clemens, there would be minimal risk in offering him arbitration in case Mussina changes his mind.