ATLANTA -- All Major League teams have until Monday to offer arbitration to their six-year free agents. This is a deadline that won't directly affect the Braves.
But like every other club, they'll be interested to see which free agents are provided arbitration offers from their respective teams. Once this procedure is completed, teams will know the level, if any, of Draft pick compensation they'd need to provide for signing a specific player.
This is why so many team officials and agents believe the free-agent market could truly begin to heat up on Tuesday.
Teams primarily offer arbitration to their classified free agents to ensure they'll receive a compensatory Draft pick -- or picks -- if the player signs with another team. As a Type B free agent, John Smoltz is Atlanta's only free agent who earned a classification this year.
While the Braves are definitely hoping to re-sign Smoltz, they certainly aren't going to take the risk of offering him arbitration. The 41-year-old hurler underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in June and he won't know if he'll be able to pitch again until he begins to throw in the middle-to-latter part of December.
If Smoltz were to accept an arbitration offer, he would position himself to make at least 80 percent of his 2008 salary ($14 million). Atlanta obviously wants to get a better sense of his health before determining any potential contractual details.
Tom Glavine, Mike Hampton, Will Ohman, Greg Norton, Julian Tavarez, Elmer Dessens and Jorge Julio are the Braves' other free agents this year.
Because none of them were classified as Type A or Type B free agents, Atlanta has no reason to offer them arbitration. But this doesn't change the fact that the club still has interest in re-signing Hampton, Glavine, Ohman and Norton.
If a Type A free agent is offered arbitration and signs elsewhere, his former team is compensated with two Draft selections. If the signing club has one of the final 15 selections in the first round of the Draft, the former team's compensation is the signing club's first-round selection and a sandwich selection between the first and second rounds.
If a team that signs an arbitration-offered Type A free agent has one of the Draft's first 15 selections, it doesn't lose its first-round selection. In this case, the former team's compensation is a sandwich selection between the first and second rounds and the signing team's second-round selection.
Teams that sign Type B free agents don't lose Draft picks. But teams that lose Type B free agents through free agency receive a sandwich selection between the first and second rounds.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.