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Looming arbitration may force everybody's hands

Looming arbitration may force everybody's hands
Monday, the deadline for teams to offer salary arbitration to their respective free agents, could offer the first true glimpse of how much the economic crisis is affecting the way clubs do business.

MLB Hot Stove

First, the Cubs are in the process of being sold; offers from their four remaining bidders are due by Monday. The Cubs already have re-signed free-agent right-hander Ryan Dempster for $52 million over four years. They almost certainly would need the blessing of a new owner to take on Peavy, who is owed $63 million over the next four seasons — and might ask for even more money to waive his no-trade clause.

The teams, meanwhile, are not close to a trade agreement. Padres general manager Kevin Towers is trying to involve a third club so he could get the package of players he desires. The Cubs almost certainly will need to move right-hander Jason Marquis, who is earning $9.875 million next season, to clear both payroll and a rotation spot for Peavy.

The Padres could take Marquis, with the Cubs including enough money in the deal to reduce his salary to say, $7 million. Or, they could spin Marquis and the cash from the Cubs to another club. The Rockies, Reds and Giants have shown varying degrees of interest in Marquis, according to a major-league source.

Another possibility is that the Padres could spin one or two of the prospects that they receive from the Cubs. A team might value a player such as outfielder Felix Pie more than the Padres do; the Orioles are again talking with the Cubs about Pie, according to The Baltimore Sun, and could emerge as the third team in the deal.

Jack Wilson update No. 2

A few days ago, I reported that the Dodgers backed off their pursuit of shortstop Jack Wilson after the Pirates asked for shortstop Chin-Lung Hu, outfielder Delwyn Young and a third player.

Well, there's a reason the Pirates asked for a third player, according to a major-league source. The Dodgers wanted the Pirates to include cash that would help defray Wilson's $7.25 million salary next season and $8.4 million club option or $600,000 buyout for 2010.

The Pirates did not rule out the idea, but wanted an additional prospect for their money, a player whom they essentially would "buy" from the Dodgers. The better the prospect, the greater the amount the Pirates would pay.

The negotiations apparently broke down over this aspect of the deal. The Dodgers believe that Wilson isn't strong enough offensively to justify his $7.25 million salary; hence, their desire for that number to be reduced. The Pirates want more for Wilson and cash than Hu and Young.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: November 30, 2008

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