Teams have until Tuesday at midnight to offer arbitration to potentially departing free agents. This means that the Tigers need to make decisions on Placido Polanco, Fernando Rodney and Brandon Lyon. If they offer arbitration to any of the three players and that player signs with another team, then they will be compensated with one or two picks in the 2010 first year player draft.
Since Polanco is a Type A free agent, the Tigers would get the signing team's first round pick unless that team has one of the first 15 picks in the first round. In that case, the Tigers would get the team's second round pick. In either case, Detroit would also get a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds. Rodney and Lyon are Type B free agents which means the The Tigers would get a sandwich pick if they sign elsewhere.
The gamble for the Tigers is if they offer arbitration and the player accepts then they will have to carry the player for another year at a salary which is potentially higher than they would like. With Polanco, there is the additional risk that the potential compensation pick might make him less attractive to other teams and more likely to accept arbitration. Since the Tigers seem prepared to give rookie second baseman Scott Sizemore a starting job next year, the Tigers may be reluctant to offer arbitration to Polanco.
There is less risk involved in offering arbitration to Rodney and Lyon as the signing team would not have to compensate the Tigers. The Tigers would simply receive an extra pick after the first round. I also believe that they would be more likely to get a multi-year deal than Polanco and thus less likely to accept arbitration. The only risk to the Tigers in offering arbitration to Rodney or Lyon is that would have to pay them for another year. Since they need relief pitching though, that is probably not a big concern.
Dave Dombrowski does not like the arbitration process and the Tigers have never received a compensation pick for losing a free agent during his tenure. However, there have not been a lot of potential free agents that they wanted to keep. Lynn Henning believes they will keep all three. I hope he is correct because I want the Tigers get draft picks if they lose players. I'd also like to have Rodney and Lyon back next year. Also, while I'd like to see Sizemore get a shot at the second base job, I also would not mind if Polanco came back for another year.
I'm a little less optimistic. My guess is that they will offer arbitration to both Rodney and Lyon but pass on Polanco.