The Pittsburgh Pirates signed catcher Rod Barajas today, which makes it unlikely that they will bring back catchers Ryan Doumit or Chris Snyder, who both became free agents when the Pirates declined their options. Both catchers profile as Type B free agents, which could net the Pirates a compensation pick in the 2012 draft for each player. To get the pick, the Pirates would have to offer arbitration, and the players would have to turn down the offer and sign elsewhere.
There is a risk in offering arbitration. Snyder made $5.75 M in 2011. Doumit made $5.2 M. If either player accepted arbitration, the Pirates would have to pay them a raise over their 2011 salaries. Considering that they’ve signed Rod Barajas to be their starter, they probably won’t take the risk of adding one of their former catchers for $6 M. As it turns out, they might not have to worry about that with Doumit.
Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports that Ryan Doumit has received multiple offers, and expects to sign by the end of November. Crasnick also adds that Doumit is looking for a one year deal. The deadline to tender arbitration offers to ranked free agents is November 23rd. If Doumit were to sign with another team prior to the deadline, the Pirates wouldn’t have to worry about the offer of arbitration. They could tender an offer as a formality, with no chance of Doumit accepting the offer after he’s signed with a new team.
Doumit is a Type B free agent, which means that the only draft pick compensation would come from the league. His new team wouldn’t be at risk of giving up a pick, so there would be no incentive to wait until after November 23rd to make a deal. If Doumit doesn’t sign by November 23rd, the Pirates could probably get a feel for what he’d do if they offered arbitration. If he wasn’t receiving offers of $6 M or more, he’d probably be a risk to accept the offer of arbitration.