Batista is classified as a "Type B" free agent, which means now that the D-backs have offered salary arbitration, they would receive a "sandwich pick" between the first and second rounds of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft if he signs with another team.
Batista has until Dec. 7 to accept or decline the offer. Should Batista elect to accept salary arbitration, he would be considered a signed player with his salary to be determined by an arbitrator unless he reached an agreement with the D-backs before the arbitration hearing.
With the free-agent market exploding, though, it's more likely Batista will decline the offer and seek a multiyear deal on the open market. Arizona still would be free to negotiate with Batista.
Given that, offering Batista arbitration was a relatively easy decision. If he accepts, Arizona has itself a pitcher at a reasonable salary (though Batista certainly would get a raise from the $4.75 million he made last year) given today's market. And if he refuses, they get draft-pick compensation.
The Gonzalez decision was trickier. Though the D-backs announced in September they did not plan to bring the veteran back in 2007, he is a "Type A" free agent, which means had Arizona offered him salary arbitration it would have received two compensatory picks. That had to be tempting given that one of the picks would have been the signing team's first rounder.
Of course, Gonzalez could have accepted salary arbitration, which could have proven costly to the D-backs, as Gonzalez made $11.5 million last year.
Arizona already will receive one sandwich pick as a result of "Type B" free agent Craig Counsell signing this week with the Brewers.
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.