At long last, the first stage of the Ottoneu offseason is complete. Yesterday constituted the Ottoneu arbitration deadline, where teams finalized allocation of their $25 to throw at other teams. The extra arbitration dollars serve a few purposes — (1) helping minimize the advantage savvy owners may have by collecting underpriced assets, (2) punishing owners that appear to have the best teams lined up for 2014, or perhaps (3) merely punishing quality owners.
Quite honestly, the results stunned me — in a positive way. Coming into the arbitration period, I had a number of players priced to attract $$, but none more than Yu Darvish ($8) and Manny Machado ($10). Pre-arbitration, Cano sat at $44, Strasburg $36, Hamels $32 and Posey $28, while Lowrie and Corbin were $8, and Alex Gordon carred at $10 salary.
Yu Darvish finished 6th among SP with 1141 points while leading the league in strikeouts. Machado didn’t produce at quite an elite level, but managed to put up nearly 800 points as a 20-year-old 3B. When Machado went down with a knee injury, I figured that some of the dollars would flow over to Darvish. Honestly, I never considered that Strasburg, Cano, Posey or Hamels would attract arbitration dollars — each are priced decently given their elite level of production, but none carry a huge discount that I figured owners would be looking to pile cash on top of.
Instead, Machado and Darvish got $8 each, bringing their price to $18 and $16, respectively. Looking across Ottoneu LWTS leagues, Machado’s $18 is right around average, while Darvish still has significant excess value against a $32 average across all the leagues.
Looking past Machado and Darvish, 9 of my players received $1 allocations, including Robinson Cano ($44) and Stephen Strasburg ($36) on the high end of the price spectrum, and Patrick Corbin and Jed Lowrie (both $8) on the other side. I don’t really understand any of these allocations. Adding a mere $1 to pretty much any player makes little sense to me — to think that I would view a $44 Cano differently than a $45 Cano implies a level of precision that doesn’t exist in fantasy baseball — keeping, cutting or trading him will be the same decision regardless of $1 either way. Even looking at the prospects, adding $1 to Oscar Taveras or Carlos Correa doesn’t change their asset value in my view one bit. Given the prices of Darvish/Machado, the arbitration impact of the $9 could have been painful (ie, if I were now holding a $27 Darvish instead of $18, his value to me and the open market significantly changes), but instead is largely irrelevant.
Ultimately, I had budgeted my 2014 roster plan to include an extra $33 divided in some manner between Darvish and Machado — so receiving $29 was a $4 benefit, and the $13 allocated to players where the price difference doesn’t matter is an added bonus.
Next Post: A look at my $25 Arbitration allocations.