Polanco could've made a cash grab
Talked with Dave Dombrowski this afternoon about their decisions on arbitration to free agents, and his remarks echoed the sentiments that were out there. While Dombrowski isn’t bidding farewell to Polanco and plans to keep in touch with his agents, the Levinson brothers, he indicated there was a real chance — maybe more than a chance — that Polanco might have accepted an arbitration offer and gone to a hearing.
Good deal, right? The Tigers would get Polanco on a one-year contract.
Actually, it’s not that simple.
The risk, Dombrowski said, was that Polanco would go to a hearing and ask for more money than the Tigers would be comfortable doing. It sounds unlikely in this market until you consider long-term contracts last winter for other All-Star second basemen, such as Brian Roberts ($10 million per year) and Dustin Pedroia (6 years, $40.5 million, including $31 million over the final three seasons). They also could’ve used other free-agent infielders as a reference point.
No fault in doing so; I just wanted to use the term “cash grab” in a headline.
As it is, Polanco instantly becomes a hotter commodity on the market now that teams don’t have to give up a first- or second-round Draft pick for him.
The relievers, Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon, were a different story. Dombrowski essentially confirmed what others such as agent Barry Meister have suggested, that Rodney and Lyon are looking for multi-year deals and stand a decent chance to get them.
“I would be very surprised if either of them accepted [arbitration],” Dombrowski said.
That said, interestingly, Dombrowski didn’t write off Detroit’s chances of re-signing them, either. He’ll keep in touch with their agents — Rodney is also a Levinson client — and see where it goes. Even as Meister fully expects to get a multi-year deal for Lyon, he said there’s mutual interest from the two parties in re-signing.
Could the Tigers be open to a multi-year contract to keep a reliever? I don’t think you can write that off quite yet. But they might have to clear some payroll space to do it.