Even Major League Baseball isn't safe when it comes to the failing American economy it seems. Yesterday was the last day to offer arbitration to in-house free agents and the list of non-offers is astounding. Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn, Braden Looper, Randy Wolf and Kerry Wood were among the most notable names not offered.
The key thing about offering a player arbitration is that it prevents teams from losing a free agent without compensation if the team actually wants to keep the player. It may be the case of movign on in terms of Braden Looper and Kerry Wood with their respective teams but still, those players would have brought back the compensation picks at the end of the first round of the draft, which, in past years has proven to be key to building a farm system. (Clay Bucholz and Jacoby Ellsbury are prime examples)
Perhaps the Chicago Cubs were afraid Wood might accept arbitration and put himself on the hook for a one-year deal when the team already had it's closer plans figured out. Same goes for Looper but in a case of a rotation spot not being available. The perplexing part of this story is that Abreu, Burrell, Dunn and Wolf all being guranteed a long-term deal with another team if not their own.
Why wouldn't you want to offer arbitration if they player is going to leave anyway? Perhaps the economy is so bad, that the free agency spending outside of the superstars like CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and Rafael Furcal isn't going to come to fruition. Maybe the best offers those previous players get are in house with an arbitration case.
It's a scary thought but teams may be so afraid a player with accept arbitration, that it isn't worth the risk of gaining a pair of early draft picks. This is proof that the economy has its effect on even the richest of businesses that aren't really hurting in the wallet quite yet.
To make a long story short I'll be shocked to see anywhere near the amount of money being thrown at mediocre or worse players like Carlos Silva of yesteryear who just finished the first season of a four-year, $48 million contract with a 4-15 record with a 6.46 ERA despite his previous numbers showing not much to the contrary.