Both local baseball teams on Monday chose not to offer key veteran players arbitration, the Angels passing on outfielder Garret Anderson and the Dodgers on shortstop Rafael Furcal.
But in a mild surprise, the Angels did offer arbitration to pitcher Jon Garland, increasing the chances of the veteran right-hander’s returning in 2009.
Angels first baseman Mark Teixeira, closer Francisco Rodriguez and reliever Darren Oliver were all offered arbitration, ensuring the club would receive draft-pick compensation should they sign elsewhere.
Garland, Teixeira, Rodriguez and Oliver have until 9 p.m. PST Sunday to accept or decline arbitration.
Teixeira and Rodriguez are expected to decline because they are in line for huge multiyear deals. But there is a good chance Garland, who was 14-8 with a 4.90 earned-run average last season, and Oliver, 7-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 54 games, will accept and work out one-year deals with the Angels.
Garland, who made $12 million in 2008, is part of the “middle class” of free agents who could find it difficult to procure multiyear deals this winter.
Because salaries can be cut by a maximum of only 20% in arbitration, Garland would assure himself of a $9.6-million salary if he accepted the offer.
Oliver, who made $2 million in 2008, is 37 and considered retirement this winter. The left-hander could significantly increase his 2009 salary through arbitration.
The Angels spent $3 million to buy out the $14-million option on Anderson’s contract, but Monday’s decision doesn’t necessarily mean Anderson’s 15-season career with the Angels is over. The team can still negotiate with the outfielder, who has hired Scott Boras as his agent.
Teixeira, Rodriguez and Oliver are Type A free agents, and the Angels would receive two high draft picks as compensation should they sign elsewhere. Garland is a Type B free agent, and the Angels would receive one draft pick if he signed elsewhere.
Juan Rivera, whose playing time the last two seasons was limited by a broken leg, did not qualify as a Type A or B free agent and is free to sign anywhere without compensation coming to the Angels.
Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti said Furcal’s days with the team aren’t necessarily over.
“We obviously have interest in the player and the player has interest in being here,” said Colletti, adding that he spoke over the weekend to Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group, which represents Furcal.
But the Dodgers’ refusal to offer him arbitration is further evidence that Furcal’s demand for a four-year deal isn’t the only point of contention in their negotiations. The Dodgers are also reluctant to re-sign him at the average annual salary of $13 million he made over the three years of the contract he completed this year, and an arbitration hearing might have resulted in a raise.
Of the Dodgers’ 14 free agents, the team offered arbitration to only Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe and Casey Blake. Ramirez and Lowe are Type A free agents; Blake is a Type B free agent. Furcal is not classified as either because he missed too many games over the last two seasons.
The Dodgers declined to offer arbitration to Type B free agents Joe Beimel, Jeff Kent, Greg Maddux and Brad Penny, probably signaling the end of their tenures with the club.