Yesterday marked the first day of Major League Baseball's 15-day free agency filing period, and two Red Sox players, Kevin Millar and Bill Mueller, filed on Day 1. The other Sox players eligible to file are: center fielder Johnny Damon, second baseman Tony Graffanino, first baseman John Olerud, and pitchers Mike Timlin, Matt Mantei, and Mike Myers.
During the 15 days, players who have filed for free agency can enter into discussions with any team. However, during this period only the player's former club can discuss dollar amounts with the player, and only the player's former club can sign the player.
The Red Sox may also offer any of the above players arbitration by Dec. 7, if that player is still on the market. The player then has until Dec. 19 to accept arbitration.
If the player accepts arbitration, he is all but guaranteed to rejoin the team, with his salary to be determined in an arbitration hearing. The player and team could forgo a hearing by coming to an agreement. If the player declines arbitration, the team has until Jan. 8 to re-sign him. After that, the team cannot negotiate with the player until May 1.
If the Red Sox do not re-sign any of the above players by Dec. 7, and do not offer arbitration, they effectively lose them.
Excerpted from an article in today's Boston Globe