Chone Figgins seems ready to sign a four-year deal with the Mariners. Total salary, $36 million.
Today, Buster Olney called Figgins the third-best position player on the market and wrote that “… the fact that he is signing with Seattle for less than $10 million a year tells you that the salaries for position players continue to come down.” As Olney pointed out, it might also tell us something about Johnny Damon.
I didn’t think it would be the worst thing in the world for the Yankees to offer Damon arbitration. I certainly wasn’t surprised when he wasn’t offered , but I thought a one-year deal at slightly more than Yankees would have liked to pay was a fair risk for the potential reward of two compensation draft picks. The Figgins signing, though, suggests an arbitration contract with Damon might have been well above his market value.
Brian Cashman judged the position player market exactly right last year when he elected not to offer arbitration to Bobby Abreu, who wound up taking a one-year contract worth $5 million. I’m not suggesting Damon’s value has dropped that far, but in a slowly developing market, a position player (or two) might be available for less than we (and they) are expecting.
• In that same article, Olney says the Yankees top priority is to sign Andy Pettitte and says they are not likely to be in the market for Jason Bay or Matt Holliday. Nothing shocking there, but worth noting. Olney mentions Mike Cameron as a potential outfield target.
• Bryan Hoch has a good wrap-up of the Yankees needs heading into the Winter Meetings.
• Greg Porter, who struggled and became an afterthought with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre two years ago, is Baseball America’s Independent League Player of the Year.