Deadline looming for arbitration offers

NEW YORK -- Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon, Houston shortstop Miguel Tejada and Dodgers pitcher Randy Wolf were among the free agents who weren't offered salary arbitration by Tuesday night's deadline, moves that enable new teams to sign them without losing draft picks.

Because all three were Type A players under the free-agent rankings, their former teams would have received two draft picks if they had been offered arbitration and then signed with different clubs.

Other Type As who did not receive arbitration offers included Dodgers second baseman Orlando Hudson; San Francisco catcher Bengie Molina; White Sox outfielder Jermaine Dye and reliever Octavio Dotel; Detroit second baseman Placido Polanco; Angels pitcher Darren Oliver; Houston pitcher LaTroy Hawkins; Minnesota shortstop Orlando Cabrera; and Cubs pitcher Kevin Gregg.

Tuesday night was the first big deadline of baseball's offseason. Players have until Monday to accept arbitration offers; if they reject, they still can re-sign with their former clubs at any time.

Just 23 players received arbitration offers -- one fewer than last year -- and only 10 were position players: St. Louis outfielder Matt Holliday and third baseman Mark DeRosa; Boston outfielder Jason Bay; Los Angeles Angels third baseman Chone Figgins; Seattle third baseman Adrian Beltre; Tampa Bay catcher Gregg Zaun; Texas catcher Ivan Rodriguez and outfielder Marlon Byrd; and Toronto catcher Rod Barajas and shortstop Marco Scutaro.

Pitchers offered arbitration included Angels ace John Lackey; Boston reliever Billy Wagner; Detroit's Brandon Lyon and Fernando Rodney; Minnesota's Carl Pavano; Oakland's Justin Duchscherer; Tampa Bay's Brian Shouse; Atlanta's Mike Gonzalez and Rafael Soriano; Colorado's Rafael Betancourt and Jason Marquis; Houston's Jose Valverde; and St. Louis' Joel Pineiro.

In addition to Damon, the Yankees declined to offer arbitration to World Series MVP Hideki Matsui and pitcher Andy Pettitte. The Angels turned down slugger Vladimir Guerrero and pitcher Kelvim Escobar. Besides Wolf and Hudson, the Dodgers said no to pitcher Jon Garland.

Among others declined arbitration were Detroit pitcher Jarrod Washburn, Seattle lefty Erik Bedard, Mets first baseman Carlos Delgado, Milwaukee center fielder Mike Cameron and Kansas City catcher Miguel Olivo.

Before 2006, players not offered arbitration could not re-sign with their former clubs from Dec. 8 to April 30, but that provision was eliminated in the latest collective bargaining agreement.

Teams losing top free agents, as defined by a complicated statistical formula, get draft picks next June as compensation if those free agents were offered arbitration by their former clubs.

Type A free agents are among the top 20 percent of players at their position, as defined by the formula created in the 1981 strike settlement, and Type B are from 21-40 percent. Teams receive one extra pick if they lose a Type B.

One free agent agreed to a contract Tuesday, with catcher Brian Schneider getting a $2.75 million, two-year deal from Philadelphia to back up Carlos Ruiz.

In the day's only trade, Cleveland sent catcher Kelly Shoppach to the Tampa Bay Rays for a player to be named. Shoppach hit .214 with 12 homers and 40 RBIs in 89 games this year, striking out 89 times in 271 at-bats.