Roundup: Arbitration decisions looming

Thanksgiving week is upon us, but there’s still plenty of time for the Hot Stove before the turkey hits the table. There’s also tomorrow’s deadline for team’s to decide if they want to offer arbitration to their eligible free agents. A lot of factors go in to team’s decisions this time of year, but keep in mind that teams can make offers of arbitration to free agents, even if they plan to decline and depart, in order to reap the draft benefits. What impact will this have on the free agent market? Only time will tell but with these decisions on the horizon, let’s take a brief look at what’s going on around the league: 
-Speaking of the arbitration deadline, one of the Orioles biggest decisions leading up to it will be whether or not to offer arbitration to reliever Koji Uehara. According to MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli, the O’s have shown significant interest in retaining Uehara, and have remained in contact with his representatives. Uehara, who served as the O’s closer down the stretch, registered a 2.86 ERA out of the ‘pen in 2010. His strong season could put him in line for a significant raise, perhaps netting upwards of $8 million, Ghiroli speculated. 
- Justin Upton talks have continued after the general manager meetings. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported last Friday that 15-16 teams had approached the D-backs about acquiring the young slugger. Upton has four teams on his no-trade list, including the Athletics, Mariners, Tigers and Royals. On Monday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.com clarified on Twitter that the Mariners were one of the teams Upton had chosen to block from acquiring him, not the Indians as he had previously reported. The Blue Jays, Marlins, Orioles, Red Sox, Royals and Yankees have been said to have interest in Upton. 
- Free agent Eric Hinske is being courted in the early stages of the offseason by the Braves and the Brewers, according to a Twitter report from Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports. The 33-year-old hit .256 with 11 home runs in a bench/platoon role with Atlanta last year. Hinske has said he’d like to return to the Braves, who according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman offered the outfielder/first baseman a one-year deal in the range of $1.5 million last week. Hinske is said to be looking for a two-year deal. 
- There are six or seven teams interested in free agent right-hander Brandon McCarthy, according to a report from Jon Paul Morosi of FoxSports.com. Teams interested in McCarthy include the Athletics, Astros, D-backs, Brewers, Padres, Mariners, and Tigers. McCarthy, who has endured his share of shoulder injuries, has been looking good in the Dominican Winter League, Morosi noted. 
- The A’s pitching situation for 2011 is apparently still evolving amidst the news that talks with Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma have stalled. The two sides will still have until Dec. 7 to hammer out a deal, but it’s not looking good. According to Iwakuma’s agent Don Nomura, the A’s offered Iwakuma a four-year deal worth $15.25 million. Iwakuma and his agent, though, were looking for something more similar to the contracts of Hiroki Kuroda (three years, $35.3 million) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (six years, $52 million).
Stay tuned to the MLB.com Hot Stove blog for updates on all the action. 
Bailey Stephens

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