Ted Lilly, Chicago Cubs
Lilly will almost certainly be shopped by the Cubs as they will seek some financial freedom from the roughly $6 million remaining on Lilly’s contract. Although Lilly’s peripherals aren’t great, he has a 3.76 ERA, which could entice some suitors, and there is reason to believe that he can get his FIP closer to 4.00 than 4.50 by season’s end. The interesting question is whether or not the Cubs or a team that receives him in a trade would be willing to offer him arbitration
An arbitration offer can result in a one year salary no lower than 80% of the prior year’s salary – in this case, no lower than $9.6M, and there’s reason to believe that his arbitration salary would be equal to his $12M 2010 salary or higher. Lilly will turn 35 in January, and teams may be leery of that kind of financial commitment to an aging pitcher. If Lilly pitches well down the stretch, though, he can likely cash in on a weak market for SPs next season, and may turn down arbitration and bring his team some valuable draft picks.
Felipe Lopez, St. Louis Cardinals
Last season, the Milwaukee Brewers acquired Felipe Lopez from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a deadline deal as a result of the injury to Rickie Weeks. Lopez had easily his best MLB season between Arizona and Milwaukee, posting 3.9 WAR and a career high – by 30 points – .358 wOBA. The Brewers didn’t have a starting spot for Lopez with the return of Weeks, and they didn’t want to risk Lopez, a type B, accepting arbitration and receiving a contract for upwards of $5 million. Lopez almost certainly would have accepted, given the market for 2B – Orlando Hudson only got $5 million himself, and Lopez had to settle for $1 million from St. Louis.
Lopez’s wOBA has fallen to .338, but still above the .320 level that his career had settled upon prior to last year. He’s an average fielder at 2B and 3B, making him about a 2-2.5 WAR player over 600 PAs. With David Freese at 3B and Skip Schumaker at 2B, there probably aren’t 600 PAs available for Lopez, but there’s probably still enough to make an arbitration offer worth the risk for St. Louis if he remains Type A –
Some other players to watch include Jayson Werth, as Matt Klaasen looked at here, Adam Dunn, and Arthur Rhodes – the type A crop in the National League is thin this season.