Angels face crucial arbitration calls

Angels face crucial arbitration calls

The Angels, in a winter of major decisions, have until 9 p.m. PT Monday to extend arbitration offers to an impressive quintet of six-year Major League free agents: Mark Teixeira, Francisco Rodriguez, Darren Oliver, Garret Anderson and Jon Garland.

Teixeira, Rodriguez and Oliver have been classified as Type A free agents. By offering arbitration, the Angels would be guaranteed two high picks in the First-Year Player Draft as compensation if the players decline by the Dec. 7 deadline and are signed by other clubs.

As Type B free agents, Anderson and Garland each would yield one sandwich Draft pick, between the first and second rounds, if they are offered arbitration, decline by Dec. 7 and sign with another team.

Juan Rivera, whose playing time the past two seasons was limited by a broken leg, did not qualify as a Type A or Type B free agent and is not involved in the arbitration system. He is free to sign anywhere.

Players accepting arbitration are subject to the salary arbitration process during the spring.

Classifications are based on a statistical study by the Elias Sports Bureau, compiling and evaluating player performances over the past two seasons. Teixeira was determined to be the highest-rated player in the Majors in competition with first basemen, outfielders and designated hitters.

The Angels can offer Teixeira and Rodriguez arbitration with the reasonable expectation that they will refuse, given that they are virtually guaranteed long-term deals on the open market.

If they are unable to sign Teixeira or Rodriguez, the Angels will receive from the club that signs them their first-round Draft pick (if it's not in the top 15) as well as a supplemental choice in the compensation round, squeezed between the first and second rounds. The first 15 picks are protected. If the club signing a Type A player owns one of those first 15 choices, it surrenders its second-round pick.

K-Rod went through salary arbitration this season and lost to the club, settling for $10 million for the 2008 season. He is seeking a long-term deal in hopes of entering the $15 million annual neighborhood of fellow closer Mariano Rivera of the Yankees. Teixeira's price tag is in the $20 million range, with agent Scott Boras seeking a 10-year deal -- beyond what the Angels reportedly are prepared to offer.

Oliver has excelled in his two seasons with the Angels, and they'd like to have him back. Offering the middle reliever arbitration has benefits -- two picks if he declines and signs elsewhere, another season with the Angels at the market price if he accepts.

Hot Stove

As a Type B player, Anderson is a more complicated case. The Angels could have signed him for $11 million -- the general range he'd probably find in arbitration if the club offers and he elects to accept. If they don't offer and he signs elsewhere, the team would not get a supplemental Draft pick between the first and second rounds as compensation.

Also classified Type B, Garland's situation is similar to Anderson's. Like his fellow Kennedy (Granada Hills, Calif.) High School alum, Garland is assessing the market to see what options might be available to him coming off a season in which he earned $12 million. It is highly unlikely the Angels will offer arbitration. Garland figures to have more appeal to clubs in need of a starter than the pitching-rich Angels.

Rivera made it clear late in the season that his priority is finding a club that will play him every day. The power-hitting outfielder is expected to draw a two-year contract in the $6 million range, according to various reports. The Padres and Reds are among the clubs that appear to be a fit for Rivera.

A team receives Draft pick compensation without offering arbitration if its free agent is signed before Monday's arbitration deadline.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.