MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers extended offers of arbitration to pitchers CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets and Brian Shouse before Monday's 10:59 p.m. CT deadline, positioning the team to receive as many as five compensatory picks in next summer's First-Year Player Draft should all three free agents sign elsewhere. Sabathia and Sheets are both starters and are Type-A free agents, so the Brewers would receive two additional Draft picks before the end of the second round for each if they were to sign with another team. Shouse, a left-handed reliever, is Type B, so the Brewers would receive one compensatory pick. Only one of the team's four compensation-eligible players -- reliever Eric Gagne -- was not offered arbitration. That decision came as no surprise since Gagne, a Type B free agent, earned $10 million in 2008 and the Brewers were not expected to risk paying him more to return in '09.
"Your goal is to try to re-sign your guys, and [extending arbitration] gives you a chance to re-sign your guys to one-year deals," general manager Doug Melvin said. "I think all of the players are still looking to get multiyear deals when they are free agents, and by us offering arbitration, it shows we still have some interest in the players. "Now the players have to make their decisions." But Melvin conceded that at the same time, it's "all about" the Draft picks. Here's an arbitration primer: In order to qualify for compensatory picks for Type A or Type B free agents -- determined by a formula set forth by the Elias Sports Bureau and based on a player's previous two seasons -- a team must first offer their eligible players arbitration. The deadline to do so this year was 10:59 p.m. CT on Monday, and players have until Dec. 7 to decide whether to accept. If a player declines, he is free to sign with any team. If a Type A player signs with a new team, his former team is compensated based on his new team's record in the previous season. If the player's new team was in the top half of Major League Baseball's 30 clubs, the former team receives the new team's first-round Draft pick plus a "sandwich" pick between the first and second rounds. If the new team finished in the bottom half of the standings, the former team receives the sandwich pick plus the new team's second-round selection.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.