Varitek, Byrd offered arbitration

The Red Sox offered arbitration to catcher Jason Varitek and pitcher Paul Byrd before tonight’s midnight deadline to do so. They did not offer arbitration to any of their other free agents. Varitek and Byrd are the only two of the Sox free agents to be classified as either a Type A or Type B free agent, with Varitek as an A and Byrd as a B.

That means that, if either player chooses to decline arbitration, the Red Sox stand to benefit with extra draft picks. If Varitek declines — and the Sox do not later sign him — the Sox would be awarded a first round pick and a sandwich pick in the 2009 draft. If Byrd declines, the Sox would get a supplemental pick in the same draft. Varitek is almost certain not to accept arbitration, as he (and agent Scott Boras) have in mind a multi-year contract either with the Red Sox or with another team.

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Byrd also appears unlikely to accept arbitration from the Sox.

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