The deadline to offer contracts to arbitration-eligible players is this Wednesday, and the Twins have seven players that they must deal with. The seven players include Justin Morneau, Juan Rincon, Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer, Matt Guerrier, Craig Monroe and Jason Tyner.
Lets take a look at each player and see how each situation might play out.
It’s obvious that Morneau will be a Twin next season. The big question is whether they can get him to accept their initial offer, or if they’ll have to go to an arbitrator later this off-season to settle it. Whatever happens, there is a very good chance that the Twins and Morneau at least begin talking about a big long-term deal.
The Twins have already tried to trade Rincon, but his health prevented the move. If Rincon doesn’t accept a small offer, there is a good chance that the Twins trade him or possibly even release him if no team wants him.
Kubel, much like Morneau, will almost certainly be a Twin next season. If the two sides can’t agree to terms, the Twins will most likely settle for whatever the arbitrator rules is fair.
Last season, the Twins and Cuddyer couldn’t agree to a contract before the deadline. So, the two sides headed to Arizona to let the arbitrator make the judgment. In the hallway before the hearing, the two sides worked out the deal and avoided the situation. Cuddyer will obviously be here next season, the question is for how much.
Guerrier is in for a pretty big raise after putting together a very solid 2007 season. The Twins will pay the price to keep him, the question is exactly how much will he demand.
Monroe was acquired earlier this off-season from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named. The trade was strange because the Cubs were expected to non-tender him and make him a free agent. The Twins reason for the trade was to have exclusive time to get a deal done. With no new deal yet, we’ll find out Wednesday whether the two sides could agree to a reasonable contract. If the move wasn’t a success, the Twins are expected to non-tender him and keep their player that would otherwise go to the Cubs.
Last season, Tyner was the team’s fourth outfielder. With Young, Cuddyer and Kubel in the fold, along with a future center fielder, there is a chance that the Twins will simply let Tyner go. This will all depend on how much he would cost and could also depend on if the Twins view Jason Pridie as a better option.
The Twins have never been a team to head to an arbitrator often. Most of the time they get their players locked up and avoid the hassle.
Oh, and for those readers a little bit confused by all of this arbitration talk, check out this guide.