In what seems to be a clear contrast with the strategy of the Yankees (see Nick's post below), the Red Sox tonight have offered arbitration to a veteran starter who's good for league-average performance and an aging veteran position player whose value to the team is now in question.
Sox Offer Arbitration, Yanks Do Not
Paul Byrd and Jason Varitek will likely decline their offers, the Globe reports, allowing the Sox to receive as many as three draft picks should they sign elsewhere. There's some thought, however, that Byrd might actually accept his because, given his age, he might not get any better than the one-year deal he'd receive through the arbitration process. Far from being a Tony Graffanino situation, however — where he was surprised by the Sox' offer, grudgingly accepted it, and both sides were stuck — the Red Sox could do far worse than having Paul Byrd as the stopgap fifth starter until Clay Buchholz or Michael Bowden are ready.
There's no downside to these offers tonight; indeed, it's a surprising situation whenever there is a downside — which is what makes the Red Sox' decisions tonight so matter-of-fact and the Yankees' so surprising.