Expect Gonzalez and Soriano to be offered arbitration
Now that Charlie Weis’ tenure has expired, is it only a matter of time before we learn that Notre Dame is also interested in Mike Gonzalez?
There have been a number of clubs that have expressed interest in Gonzalez and with this being their first year of being associated, you can seemingly guarantee that Scott Boras is going to transform this interest into an attractive multi-year deal for the left-handed reliever.
While the Braves would welcome the possibility if they’re still in search of a closer, there’s little reason to believe that Gonzalez will accept the arbitration offer that they will provide tomorrow. By doing so, he’d simply set himself up for a one-year contract that would likely be worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $5-6 million.
Needless to say, the Braves certainly wouldn’t be financially-devestated if Gonzalez were to aceept this offer. In fact, they would seemingly gladly welcome him back for one more year at this price.
With Gonzalez it has always been a no-brainer that the Braves would offer him arbitration before Tuesday’s deadline. But only recently has there been more reason to believe that they will make this same offer to Rafael Soriano.
Despite the fact that his name hasn’t been nearly as popular in this year’s rumor mill, Soriano also seems well positioned to receive a multi-year contract from somebody other than the Braves.
But if he doesn’t, would it be horrible for the Braves to provide him a one-year deal worth something in the neighborhood of $7-8 million. The guy was rock solid this year — converting 27 of 31 save opportunities. In his career-high 77 apperances, he posted a 2.97 ERA, a 1.06 WHIP, a .194 opponents’ batting average and 12.13 strikeouts per nine innings (NL’s second-best mark).
Given that there is at least a slight chance that both could accept, the Braves might run a small risk when they offer arbitration to both Gonzalez and Soriano. But I think it’s pretty safe to assume that both will attract multi-year offers that will erase this twinge of worry.
By offering arbitration to Gonzalez and Soriano, the Braves will set themselves up for the draft-pick compensation they would receive when another club signs either of these Type A free agents.
As for the club’s Type B free agents, the Braves will likely offer arbitration to Adam LaRoche. But needless to say, this has never been consisdered an option for Garret Anderson.
If the demand for LaRoche proves to be light and the Braves find themselves in position to sign LaRoche, they likely wouldn’t provide him anything more than a one-year deal. The cost (approximately $7.5 million) they may incur via arbitration might be a little steeper than they’d like.
But like with Gonzalez and Soriano, LaRoche’s decision to accept this offer wouldn’t financially cripple the offseason plans.
<b> Pete and Skip HOF: </b> When the top 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick Award have been announced over the course of the past decade, it has always bothered me that Pete Van Wieren and Skip Caray are absent from the list.
I’ll get into this more in tomorrow’s blog. But if you feel that these guys or the great Ernie Johnson belong in Cooperstown, then let your voices be heard via this year’s online voting, which begins on Tuesday and runs through the end of December.
<b> Chip Caray update: </b> Just got off the phone with Chip Caray and he seems comfortable with the fact that he and TBS have parted ways. I’m about to write something more on this for the site. But to give you my thoughts, this paves the way for Chip to pursue his desire to work on a daily basis and possibly be around the Braves on a much more regular basis.
<b> Got to love Google’s wisdom: </b> When you initially see Bean Stringfellow’s name in print, there’s obviously reason to think “well that’s an odd name.” But some of you ardent Braves fans might actually have known about Thornton “Bean” Stringfellow long before he became recognized as Billy Wagner’s agent.
The Braves drafted Stringfellow in the 24th round of the 1985 Draft, eight spots ahead of some kid out San Diego State named Mark Grace. The left-handed hurler spent four seasons in the Braves system and pitched with both Tom Glavine and John Smoltz during his two-year stint with Triple-A Richmond.