NEW YORK - Star pitcher CC Sabathia and slugging outfielder Manny Ramirez headlined a group of 24 players offered salary arbitration Monday by their former teams.
Starters A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe and Oliver Perez also were offered arbitration, as were closers Francisco Rodriguez and Brian Fuentes, and first baseman Mark Teixeira.
Players offered arbitration have until Sunday to accept. If a club offers arbitration to a top free agent, as determined by a complex statistical formula, and he then signs with another club, his former team receives extra selections in next June’s amateur draft as compensation.
Reflecting the strength of this year’s free-agent class, the number of offers was up from 17 last year.
The Los Angeles Angels made offers to Rodriguez, Teixeira, Jon Garland and Darren Oliver, while the Brewers made offers to Sabathia, Ben Sheets and Brian Shouse.
In addition to Ramirez and Lowe, the Dodgers offered arbitration to Casey Blake. Arizona made offers to Juan Cruz, Orlando Hudson and Brandon Lyon, and Boston made offers to Paul Byrd and Jason Varitek. Burnett was the lone player offered arbitration by Toronto, and Fuentes was the only player offered it by Colorado, and Perez the only player by the New York Mets.
Also offered arbitration were Milton Bradley (Texas), Orlando Cabrera (Chicago White Sox), Mark Grudzielanek (Kansas City), Raul Ibanez (Seattle), Dennys Reyes (Minnesota) and David Weathers (Cincinnati).
The New York Yankees declined arbitration with pitcher Andy Pettitte, right fielder Bobby Abreu, first baseman Jason Giambi and five others. The Mets declined it with Pedro Martinez, and Atlanta with Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.
Heading into Monday, just two of the 171 players who filed for free agency last month had agreed to contracts. Pitcher Ryan Dempster stayed with the Chicago Cubs for a $52 million, four-year contract, and reliever Jeremy Affeldt left Cincinnati for an $8 million, two-year deal with San Francisco.
Left-hander Mike Hampton and the Houston Astros reached a preliminary agreement on a $2 million, one-year contract that would contain an additional $2 million in performance bonuses. He must pass a physical for the deal to be finalized.
Clubs were expected to pick up the pace of signings and trade discussions heading into the winter meetings, which open next Monday in Las Vegas.
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 two extra draft picks if they lose a Type A player and one if they lose a Type B.
Before 2006, players not offered arbitration could not re-sign with their former clubs from Dec. 8-April 30, but that provision was eliminated in the latest collective bargaining agreement.
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