Both the Astros and Braves offered arbitration to their respective closers in the hopes that they would receive draft picks as compensation for their signing elsewhere. Now, the news that both pitchers may accept arbitration could become an albatross around the neck of both teams.
Neither team seems able to afford the price tag for the relievers. Valverde seems likely to make at least $10M in 2010, while Soriano is in line for something in the neighborhood of $8M.
If Valverde accepts arbitration, the Astros will be handcuffed in the free agent market and will probably look to shed payroll before Spring Training. The obvious candidates for trade would be Valverde, Carlos Lee, and Roy Oswalt.
If Soriano accepts arbitration, the same can be said for the Braves. They will need to find a way to cut payroll from their bullpen to ensure they will be able to afford a new LF for 2010. If they cannot find a suitor for Soriano, they may have to cut him from the team during Spring Training and hope to minimize their losses.
In both cases, you have to wonder if their respective GMs are kicking themselves for offering arbitration. There really was no way to read the market in such as way as to foresee that Valverde and Soriano might actually accept arbitration, but perhaps the very risk that they might should have been too great to offer arbitration.
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