2009 Offseason: Arbitration offers, Traber signed

Yesterday was the deadline for teams to offer salary arbitration to their impending free agents. This is important because if the player accepts, the team must go through the arbitration process to hammer out a one-year deal with the player. If he refuses, it means that if/when he signs with another team, the Red Sox will get compensated with draft picks if they are Type A or Type B status.

The Sox offered arbitration to captain Jason Varitek, a Type A free agent, and Paul Byrd, a type B free agent. Should Varitek sign with somebody else, it will cost them a first-round pick next year (or a second-rounder if they are too high on the board), and Boston will gain an additional sandwich pick between the first and second rounds. Should Byrd sign with another team, the Red Sox will receive a sandwich pick for their loss. We should keep in mind some of the Sox players today who were supplemental picks in their day: Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie and Michael Bowden. So those picks can be pretty valuable (I wouldn’t expect every one of them to turn to gold like that, but you get my point).

Both Varitek and Byrd have until Dec 7 to decide to accept the offer or not. I think these are both good calls. Scott Boras has been seeking a multi-year deal for Varitek, so I doubt he would accept one year through arbitration.  Even if he did accept, the Sox want him for the short-term only anyway, and they can afford to pay him that much, which is a lot more than he’s worth, but not by a ridiculous amount. He could stand to make a salary of perhaps $8-10M for one year, should be accept. Byrd also would appear to have more opportunity to pitch elsewhere, so I don’t see him accepting, either.

Players who were not offered arbitration were: Sean Casey, Bartolo Colon, Alex Cora, Mark Kotsay, David Ross, Curt Schilling and Mike Timlin. None of them were ranked Type A or Type B, so it wouldn’t make sense to do so. Boston can, however, continue to negotiate a deal with any of these players, should they want them back for next season.

Sox add Traber to pitching depth

The Red Sox signed free agent pitcher Billy Traber, a big 29-year old southpaw who played in the Yankees’ farm system last season. Weighing in at 6-5 and 200 lbs, the lanky lefty throws a mid-80s fastball, low 80s slider, and a slow curve at 70 mph. He also has a changeup for right-handed hitters, but hasn’t used it much recently. He has seen time with the Indians and the Nationals in the past. He’s kind of a marginal player who will provide LOOGY depth for us.


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