In yet another example of how little I actually know about baseball and the Arizona Diamondbacks, the team offered salary arbitration to their two Type-B Free Agents Adam LaRoche and Aaron Heilman. This comes just one day after I wrote that the team likely would not offer arbitration as they were afraid the players might actually accept it. Just goes to show you there are a lot going on that a typical fan may not understand (or just ignores).
The second part of the arbitration discussion was decided last night, which was the deadline for players to accept or reject the team’s offer. As the deadline came representatives for both LaRoche and Heilman declined the Diamondbacks offers making them free agents and giving them an opportunity to negotiate with all 30 teams.
Both players anticipate their value will be greater on the free market than they would be able to get going through salary arbitration on a one-year contract with Arizona. In each case they may be right. The free agent market seems to be a little more wide open this season than last so they are hoping to cash in on the needs for their services.
The declination of arbitration is also a positive for the Diamondbacks. For them it means that should either Heilman or LaRoche sign with another team, Arizona will receive a compensatory draft pick next June in the 2011 Amateur Draft.
The picks will be sandwiched between the first and second round meaning that Arizona will have four selections in the first round. They have their first round selection which based on their record will be the third overall pick in the draft.
The Diamondbacks also will have the number seven pick a result of them not signing their 2010 first round draft pick Barrett Loux after he failed his physical. The two compensatory picks will be after the 30th selection by the San Francisco Giants but before the second round selection by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
These four draft choices give the Diamondbacks a unique opportunity to replenish the farm system that is still suffering after the trades made during the Josh Byrnes era. Depending on whether the Diamondbacks go with proven college players or high-ceiling high school kids, these picks likely won’t make their Chase Field debut for another four or five years.
Then again maybe they will catch lightning in a bottle and find that special player that rockets through the minor league system and makes an impact. Either way, the Diamondbacks fortunes just got a little brighter as a result of two players just saying no.