Yesterday was the deadline for Major League teams to offer their own free agents salary arbitration. Salary arbitration is usually a formality for veterans, as they normally sign contracts without the help of the arbitration process. Still offering a player arbitration or not has more meaning than it seems on the surface.
Anytime a club declines to offer a veteran arbitration, it means two things. First, they will not be awarded a draft pick as compensation if the player signs elsewhere. Second, the player isn't likely to return. Since the end result of arbitration is usually a salary equal to fair market value, not offering it means that the team isn't willing to pay the player what he's worth.
The Atlanta Braves declined to offer shortstop Alex Gonzalez arbitration, meaning his career in a Braves uniform is more than likely finished. This article examines both sides to the argument of whether or not it was a smart decision.