Tuesday was the deadline for teams and their arbitration-eligible players to exchange salary numbers. There were three arbitration-eligible players on the Twins roster: Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins, and Alexi Casilla.
There were two others at the beginning of the off-season, but Kevin Slowey was traded to the Rockies (and then traded again -- more on that later), and the Twins declined to offer Jose Mijares a contract (and then he signed with the Royals).
The players are under contract for this year, but they're due raises, so they need to agree on the paycheck.
If the numbers are close, then the team and player generally finalize things right away -- Liriano (who will make $5.5 million) and Perkins ($1.55 million) did this. However, the Twins and Casilla felt like they were a little too far apart to settle right away.
Casilla wants $1.75 million, but the Twins are offering $1.065 million. So what next? They'll schedule an arbitration meeting and keep talking. They have all the way up until the start of the meeting, which will probably be scheduled for early to mid February, to meet somewhere in the middle. If they actually do sit down for arbitration, either Casilla's number or the Twins' will be his salary. There is no compromise in arbitration.
From all accounts, everyone wants to avoid arbitration. Both parties will sit before an independent arbitrator (not arbiter; I looked it up) and try to make their cases, which, I imagine, goes something like this:
Player: I'm awesome and I deserve the money.And so forth until they're done, and then the arbitrator will decide one number or the other.
Team: Weeellll...you're good, but we wouldn't say awesome.
Player: Yeah, but look at all these awesome things I did....
Team: No, but look at all these crappy things you did...
Player: I'm still pretty awesome.
Team: Not awesome.
And after it's all done, the team will tell the player he'd better have an awesome year.
Kevin Slowey, whom the Twins traded to the Rockies early in the off-season, was traded again last week to the Indians. Poor Kevin didn't even make it as a Rockie long enough to go to their fan fest. In fact, I don't even think he's in the country yet after climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with R.A. Dickey.
And from the looks of things, the Rockies got a better player in return than the Twins did.
But the Indians were desperate. One of their starting pitchers, the right-hander formerly known as Fausto Carmona, is in some trouble with stolen identity and falsifying his age. He's not likely to get a work visa to come to the US anytime soon.
It's odd; I've always been intrigued by "Fausto Carmona," and, to be honest, a lot of it may have had to do with that magnificent name.
Joel Zumaya passed his physical. Welcome to my spreadsheet, Joel. Oh, and welcome to Minnesota, too.
Seth Stohs is a Twins blogger, and is probably the foremost expert outside the Twins organization on the Twins' minor-league system. He's a great supporter of all us Twins bloggers, and he always does great work.
Seth's 2012 Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook is now available. I encourage you to buy one -- it's very reasonably priced. He always does a nice job writing it. If you don't really know much about prospects, this is a great resource every time one of those minor-leaguers gets called up. There are stats and such, but he also writes up a brief description of each prospect, so you get some background information every time.
I also encourage you to use his Handbook to become more familiar with the prospects. These guys work hard to move up the ranks, and it's kind of fun to follow their progress. They're the future of the Twins team; we should give them all the encouragement we can, if only from afar.
It's a must have if you're planning on going to Spring Training, or even if you're planning on listening to Spring Training games.
Visit Seth's website for info on getting his Handbook.