Facing a midnight deadline Friday to offer the Type A free agent salary arbitration, the Marlins opted not to do so.
While the Marlins still can continue negotiating with Borowski, they won't be entitled to a compensatory draft pick if he signs elsewhere. Had the Marlins made an offer and the reliever signed with another team, Florida would have received a first-round pick.
Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest has been in discussions this week with Borowski's agent, Ron Shapiro.
The risk the Marlins faced in offering Borowski salary arbitration is if Borowski decided to take it. Based on his experience and the fact he had a career-high 36 saves in 2006, Borowski could have earned more than $3 million.
This past season, Borowski signed for the league minimum of $323,000. But through incentives, the right-hander earned about $1.1 million. He's in line for a big pay raise.
A few days ago, Borowski was close to signing a multiyear contract with the Phillies. However, that deal fell through after a physical was taken. The Phillies are concerned over the status of Borowski's right shoulder.
Borowski has had shoulder problems in the past, but he enjoyed a healthy season with the Marlins in 2006, appearing in 72 games and throwing 69 2/3 innings. A source said Borowski pitched through some shoulder pain in the second half, but it didn't stop him from taking the ball whenever asked.
Borowski, like the rest of the Marlins players, took an exit physical for Florida. Those results didn't raise any injury concerns.
"He was OK for us all year," Beinfest said.
A battler, Borowski was one of the team leaders on a youthful Marlins squad. Beinfest says the club is looking for some experienced relievers for the back end of the bullpen.
Borowski fits the mold because of his track record. Since the Marlins feature a staff that includes four starters who were rookies last season, the team wants those young pitchers -- and the team -- to feel confident the bullpen will protect leads.
Unless they sign a veteran, the Marlins may have to look within for closing candidates. Two hard-throwing relievers, Henry Owens and Matt Lindstrom, recently obtained in a trade with the Mets, are possibilities. As is lefty Taylor Tankersley, whom the team ideally wants in a setup role.
"He did a nice job for us," Beinfest said of Borowski. "I'd say right now, looking at our roster, we don't have anybody in our 'pen who has [closed]. We can grow a closer from within, but we'd be asking a young guy to do that.
"Joe has done it. He's definitely established himself as a back-of-the-game guy."
The Indians are another team interested in signing Borowski, who likely will sign a one-year deal.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.