I didn't see this posted anywhere else on the MCC, but I thought it would have a big impact on Sabes & Co.'s current offseason plans. Tucked away in the details of the new CBA was this little nugget:
Meanwhile, clubs won't have to surrender a draft pick to sign one of the following six players: Heath Bell, Michael Cuddyer, Kelly Johnson, Ryan Madson, Josh Willingham and Francisco Rodriguez. Teams that lose these players after offering arbitration will obtain first round picks in the slot before the signing team plus a supplementary draft pick for a total of two selections.
I never was a proponent of the Giants pursuing either Josh Willingham or Michael Cuddyer this offseason, because signing either of them would have cost the Giants their first round pick (#20 overall) in next year's draft. Now that is no longer the case. The A's and Twins will receive a 1st round and 1-S comp pick if they lose those guys in free agency, but the signing team will not forfeit a pick. Since both Willingham and Cuddyer are several years younger than Carlos Beltran and since they both will likely sign for less than Beltran, I now want Sabes to join the bidding for both of them in the case that Beltran asks for too much money and/or too many years.
Here is how I would rank my preferences for the 3 players:
1. Beltran - still the main guy that I want, but only if Sabes can sign him for 3 years (with a team option for a 4th year) or less and for no more than $42M over the 3 years.
2. Willingham - if Beltran strings us along or holds out for too many years then Willingham would be the best option. He would be a good fit in LF - and should provide the power OF bat that the Giants didn't have in 2011 when PTB and Ross underperformed. I wouldn't want Sabes to exceed 3 guaranteed years or offer him more than $39M over those 3 years.
3. Cuddyer - he would be a decent fallback option if the other 2 guys can't be had. I wouldn't give him more than 2 guaranteed years or offer him more than $22M for those 2 years.