Rays offer arbitration to all but Wheeler and Pena
The Rays decided to offer arbitration to seven of their nine free agents - Type A’s Grant Balfour, Carl Crawford and Rafael Soriano, and Type B’s Joaquin Benoit, Randy Choate, Brad Hawpe and Chad Qualls.
They won’t offer arbitration to Type A Dan Wheeler and Type B Carlos Pena.
The offers to Crawford and Soriano were easy decisions since both are expected to decline and sign elsewhere, as the Rays will get two drafts picks (one from the signing team, the other between the first and second rounds) in compensation.
The decision with Balfour provides the same situation, but there is also a chance he could accept the offer, which puts him back on the roster at a salary to be determined through arbitration, and surely for more than the $2.05-million he made last season.
The concern of that happening with Wheeler and Pena is the likely reason the Rays chose not to offer to them, as they are likely to have their salaries - Pena made $10.125-million last season and Wheeler $3.5-million - reduced on the open market but could have gotten raises through arbitration. (Plus, the Rays already declined a $4-million option on Wheeler.)
Since Type B free agents net only a compensation pick (and nothing from the signing team) the situation is different, with teams sometimes working out an agreement with players to not accept arbitration.
That would seem to likely be the case with Hawpe, who had a $7.5-million salary with Colorado before being released and signed by the Rays, and with Qualls, who made $4.185-million last season when he was acquired from Arizona. That may not be as much of the case with with Choate, however, who was something of a bargain last season at $700,000 and is expected to go into the market.
With Benoit, it was procedural since he already signed with the Tigers.
The players offered arbitration have until Nov. 30 to accept. If all seven end up declining and sign elsewhere, the Rays would have 10 extra picks in the 2011 draft.