Re: Impending FA, Arbitration and Draft Pick Compensation
I would offer arbitration to Hernandez. I doubt he would accept it because he is likely to get a good multi-year contract on the open market what with all the good teams in dire need of good catchers. Even if he accepts arbitration the Reds should be able to get good trade value out of him or Hanigan if they want to create an opening for Mesoraco (which I assume they will).
I would not offer arbitration to Cordero because the risk is too great that he may accept it. I would like to have Cordero back next year but at a much lower salary. My guess is he will not be offered arbitration and he will sign a 3 year contract for about $25 million as a free agent, possibly with his former team the Rangers. I think they will put Neftali Feliz in their rotation next year.
It can be risky to offer arbitration to players you don't really want. It creates uncertainty and can put your budget plans at risk. If your goal is just to get the draft pick and therefore a keystone prospect, another option to consider instead is to use the money it would take to sign the draft pick and spend it on a top international free agent prospect or two. Those guys are a little riskier and take longer to develop because they are only 16 years old, but many of the best players in baseball were acquired that way.