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12/01/08 7:16 PM EST

Rays stay according to plan

Tampa Bay does not offer arbitration to four key free agents

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays did not offer salary arbitration to any of their free agents.

Monday night's free-agency deadline is now a moot point, as the Rays decided not to offer arbitration to any of their players before the midnight ET deadline.

All teams must decide if they are going to offer arbitration to their "Type A" and "Type B" free agents by the deadline. By doing so, they would be eligible to receive either a compensatory Draft pick or picks should the player sign elsewhere.

The Rays do have free agents in Eric Hinske and Rocco Baldelli, who became free agents after the 2008 season, and Cliff Floyd and Trever Miller, who became free agents when Tampa Bay did not pick up their options for 2009. But none of the players are Type A or B free agents.

Thus, the Rays' decision was an easy one -- based on the fact that the club gains no conceivable advantage by offering arbitration to any of their free agents.

If a team offers arbitration to a player, the player then has until Sunday to accept or reject the offer. A player who accepts arbitration is considered to be signed for 2009, with only the terms to be determined. A player who rejects arbitration may still sign with any team. Unlike in years past, rejecting an arbitration offer no longer prevents a player from re-signing with his team.

Hot Stove

Moreover, for players rated as Type A or Type B in the ratings published by the Elias Sports Bureau, an arbitration offer guarantees that his 2008 team will receive compensation in the form of at least one Draft pick if the player signs elsewhere.

Compensation for a Type A free agent is a first-round pick (unless it is lower than 15th overall) and a sandwich selection between the first and second rounds.

For lost Type B free agents, teams will receive a sandwich pick after the first round.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.