Phillies offer arbitration to Werth, not Durbin

Phillies offer arbitration to Werth, not Durbin

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have two free agents who could get them compensatory picks in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft if they sign elsewhere, but only one will.

Philadelphia offered salary arbitration to right fielder Jayson Werth, who is a Type A free agent, but not to right-hander Chad Durbin, who is a Type B free agent.

The decision on Werth hardly comes as a surprise. If he signs with another team as expected -- the Phils have had talks with Werth's agent, Scott Boras, but Boras is expected to find a bigger deal elsewhere -- Philadelphia will receive two picks: a team's top available pick (either a first- or second-round selection based on its 2010 record) and a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds.

If the Phillies had offered Durbin arbitration and he signed elsewhere, they would have received a sandwich pick.

It makes sense to offer Werth arbitration, because there is no downside. If Werth declines arbitration and signs elsewhere, the Phils get the picks. If Werth accepts arbitration, which is highly unlikely, the club automatically gets Werth to return next season on a one-year contract.

The Phillies would love that.

Why not offer Durbin arbitration? The thinking could be similar to why they did not offer left-hander Jamie Moyer arbitration in 2008. Moyer went 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA in 33 starts the year Philadelphia won the World Series.

He also made $7 million.

Had the Phils offered arbitration and Moyer accepted, he would have been in line for a significant raise. The Phillies explained at the time they did not want to be locked into a certain salary for Moyer, because they said it would prevent them from doing other things, like upgrading their bullpen.

But while Philadelphia did not offer Moyer arbitration, it continued negotiating with him. He eventually signed a two-year, $13 million contract extension.

The same could happen with Durbin, who made $2.125 million this year. The Phillies are interested in bringing him back, but probably not at a significant raise. Not offering Durbin arbitration allows the Phils to continue to negotiate with him, but with payroll flexibility.

Players offered salary arbitration have until Nov. 30 to accept.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.