While not closing the books on his return, Boston declined to offer arbitration to the backstop, meaning Varitek cannot accept and bind both sides to a one-year deal.
Varitek's return to Boston actually improved Tuesday with the news that catcher Victor Martinez is inking a deal with the Tigers, but the continued declining of the arbitration offer even after that news broke speaks to how cautious Boston is being. Varitek would likely have gotten a slight bump over his 2010 salary of $3 million. As a Type B free agent, he could have brought Boston a supplemental first-rounder had he declined the offer of arbitration and signed elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the club also declined to offer arbitration to Bill Hall, closing the books on his onerous contract that was largely subsidized by the Brewers. Mike Lowell, a Type B free agent, was also not offered arbitration as the veteran is expected to retire.
Arbitration was offered to Martinez, Adrian Beltre and Felipe Lopez. With V-Mart's trek to Detroit, Boston will hold the No. 19 pick in the draft, unless Detroit signs a higher-profile free agent, which is unlikely. They also gain a supplemental first-round pick. The team is in shape to gain from Adrian Beltre's departure as well, if it happens, so Boston may be more willing to part with its own first-round pick as a result.
The last player to be offered arbitration was infielder Felipe Lopez, who likely has a gentleman's agreement with the club to decline. That gives the Red Sox a free pick after Lopez was released by the Cardinals late in the season and plucked up by Boston for the chance at the extra draft pick.
-- Evan BrunellFor more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.