Red Sox don't offer Varitek arbitration

November, 23, 2010
11/23/10
5:03
PM ET
BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox announced Tuesday they did not offer salary arbitration to catcher Jason Varitek, but that doesn’t mean they’ve permanently cut ties with their long-time captain.

The Red Sox retain the right to negotiate with Varitek, but by not offering arbitration to the Type B free agent, they will not receive a first-round sandwich pick as compensation if he signs with another club. Had the Sox offered him arbitration and he accepted by next Tuesday’s deadline, that would have been the equivalent of Varitek becoming a signed player.

Arbitration would have all but assured Varitek of a raise on the $3 million salary he was paid last season. Now the Sox can try to sign him to a lesser figure, more in keeping with his status as a backup catcher who is turning 39 on April 11.

According to club sources, the Red Sox remain interested in Varitek, who also has drawn attention from several other clubs in the market for a backup. With Victor Martinez headed for the Detroit Tigers, Varitek’s value to the Sox increases as a potential mentor to Jarrod Saltalamacchia, now in line to become the team’s No. 1 catcher.

The Red Sox, as expected, offered arbitration to their two Type A free agents, Adrian Beltre and Martinez, ensuring them that they will receive a first- or second-round draft pick from any team, plus a first-round sandwich pick, as compensation should one or both sign with another club.

The Red Sox also offered arbitration to free agent infielder Felipe Lopez, a Type B free agent who will get them a sandwich pick as compensation. The Sox essentially signed Lopez for that reason when they picked him up after his release by St. Louis on Sept. 25. The Sox have an understanding that Lopez, who is hopeful of landing an everyday job somewhere, will decline arbitration, according to an industry source.

Utilityman Bill Hall was not offered arbitration, but even if he had been offered arbitration he would not entitle the Sox to any compensation if he signs elsewhere. Hall is expected to land an everyday job with another club.

The Red Sox, in a strictly procedural move, also did not offer salary arbitration to Mike Lowell, who has announced his intention to retire.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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