Varitek to decline salary arbitration from Red Sox

LAS VEGAS – A source close to Sox catcher Jason Varitek confirmed that Varitek would decline salary arbitration from the Red Sox before the midnight deadline. This will allow Varitek to pursue his free-agent market without being tied exclusively to the Red Sox for the upcoming season.

Varitek’s agent, Scott Boras, who was due in here late tonight, always believes he can create a market for a player. While the market for Varitek doesn’t appear to be vast at this point, Boras understands it’s still early in the process and there are teams – the Tigers, Marlins, Dodgers to name three, who could use an experienced catcher.

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Declining arbitration certainly doesn’t mean Varitek, who hit .220, can’t continue to negotiate with Boston, but accepting arbitration would have insured he’d be a Red Sox for another season and he could have continued to negotiate on something long term. Varitek is coming off a four-year, $40 million deal and would likely have made at least the $10 million per year he earned in 2008 if he went to arbitration.

The Red Sox were also expecting that right-hander Paul Byrd would decline arbitration.
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