NEW YORK -- On a deadline day that has lost much of its
importance, major league teams offered salary arbitration Saturday
to 17 of their former players who became free agents, a group that
included outfielder Aaron Rowand and pitcher Livan Hernandez.
Before last year, the deadline day was Dec. 7 and players not
offered arbitration couldn't re-sign with their former teams until
May 1. But under baseball's new labor contract, agreed to during
last year's World Series, free agents can return to their former
teams at any time.
Philadelphia made the offer to Rowand and Arizona to Hernandez.
Oakland offered arbitration to designated hitter Mike Piazza and
outfielder Shannon Stewart, Kansas City to pitcher David Riske and
San Francisco to infielder Pedro Feliz.
The Yankees offered arbitration to pitchers Andy Pettitte and
Luis Vizcaino. They also offered it to third baseman Alex Rodriguez
and closer Mariano Rivera, who have agreed to contracts but have
not finalized their deals. New York didn't offer arbitration to
Roger Clemens, who may retire.
Boston made arbitration offers to relievers Eric Gagne and Mike Timlin. San Diego made offers to outfielder Mike Cameron and
catcher Michael Barrett but declined to offer arbitration to
outfielder Milton Bradley. Houston offered arbitration to infielder
Mark Loretta and left-hander Trever Miller.
By not offering arbitration, a club loses the right to receive
amateur draft picks if it loses a highly ranked player to another
team. Free agents offered arbitration have until Dec. 7 to accept.
Designated hitter Sammy Sosa was declined salary arbitration
by the Texas Rangers before the deadline, along with Jamey Wright, Jerry
Hairston Jr. and Brad Wilkerson. But that doesn't preclude the
Rangers from re-signing Sosa or any of the others at any time.
Daniels said there have been some conversations with Sosa's
agent, Adam Katz, about the slugger returning next season. But Katz
is also still trying to get a feel for what Sosa's free agency
"We haven't exchanged anything," Daniels said. "We agreed to
stay in touch."