As reported by Joe Christensen yesterday, the Twins offered arbitration to three free agents and declined to offer arbitration to Matt Guerrier, Brian Fuentes, and Jon Rauch. I’ve covered this subject in my post on the free agent class so I”m not going to go into much detail here, except to say that the Twins did the smart thing and offered arbitration to the players least likely to accept (and fetch draft picks in the process). Probably the only real surprise is that they offered arbitration to Orlando Hudson. Hudson had a clause in his contract that the could not be offered arbitration if he were a Type A free agent, since few teams are willing to sacrifice draft picks for a second-tier free agent. However, Hudson is a Type B free agent, so the signing team won’t have to surrender any picks and the Twins are free to offer the O-Dog arbitration if they wish. Hudson is likely to decline and seek a multi-year deal elsewhere, but even if he chooses to accept, he probably won’t get more than $10 million next season. Considering that the second baseman was worth either 3.1 fWAR or 2.0 rWAR (fangraphs loves his defense more than baseball-reference.com), that is a relative bargain for the 33 year-old.
Offering Hudson arbitration gives the Twins options in the infield: if he accepts, they may non-tender J. J. Hardy and stick Alexi Casilla at short. If he declines, they can tender a Hardy a contract and let Alexi Casilla and Luke Hughes battle for the second base job (they have until December 2nd to decide on the non-free agents). Or, preferably they can dig deep into their pockets and bring back both Hudson and Hardy.
All three players have until November 30th to decide whether to accept arbitration, but I will be very surprised if any of them do.
Erin is a contributing writer for Twinkie Talk. You can email her at erinm725 [at] gmail [dot] com.