McTaggart's new post reminds us all that the Astros have until midnight tomorrow night (Tuesday) to offer arbitration to their free agents: Tejada, Valverde, LaHawk, Michaels, and Erstad. Those players, then, have until next Monday to accept.
McTaggart does have a note about Tejada's impending arbitration decision:
Tejada made around $14 million last season and appears headed for a healthy pay cut on the free-agent market, which makes it seem unlikely the Astros would offer him arbitration.
And on Valverde?
Valverde, who made $8 million last season, is likely headed for a raise after coming off a season in which he was 4-2 with a 2.33 ERA and converted 25 of 29 saves. He would be less likely to accept arbitration if he was offered by the Astros because he could command a higher salary in free agency.
We've maintained for quite some time that offering arbitration to Tejada is a huge risk, because he just might take it. The Astros could re-sign him at a lower rate on the free agent market, but there's also the risk that someone else could sign him - though the consensus seems to be that he'd (a) have to take a big pay cut, or (b) he'd have to play third base, since his defense is so suspect at short.
Valverde is an easier call, as he seems intent on testing the free agent market.
The Astros are faced with the same choice they had with Ty Wigginton last year: They would probably like him back, but it's too risky if he accepts because of the money involved. I would like to see the Astros get something for Tejada after giving up five players to get him in the first place, but not if it means having virtually no money left to play with.