Balfour wants multiyear deal, Choate security
Grant Balfour turned down the Rays offer of arbitration because he feels he deserves a multi-year deal.
"I'll take my chances on what I've done the past few years,'' he said. "I believe there's a multi-year deal out there for me.''
Arbitration contracts are by definition one-year, non-guaranteed deals. As a result, Balfour said the decision to say was "not really that tough, to be honest with you.'' Balfour said he'd be open to returning to the Rays under a multi-year deal, but "I would have liked to have heard something" before now. He said he expects interest from several teams despite his Type A designation (which means the signing team has to give up a draft pick).
Randy Choate said while he'd like a multi-year deal it's also important to him to have the security of a guaranteed deal, and that was his primary reason for declining arbitration. He praised the Rays for the opportunity they gave him and said he'd be very open to returning, but also that there are "some other options I wouldn't mind exploring.'' Three other teams have expressed interest.
The other Rays free agents - Carl Crawford, Brad Hawpe, Chad Qualls and Rafael Soriano - declined as expected, as did Joaquin Benoit, who signed with Detroit. If all seven end up signing major-league contracts with other teams, the Rays will have 10 extra picks in next year's draft.