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 Texas offers arbitration to Byrd, Pudge

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PostSubject: Texas offers arbitration to Byrd, Pudge   Tue Dec 01, 2009 9:18 pm

Texas offers arbitration to Byrd, Pudge
Club would receive compensation if players sign elsewhere

By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com

12/01/09 7:20 PM EST

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers offered arbitration to free-agent outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher Ivan Rodriguez on Tuesday.

By doing so, Texas would receive a supplemental first-round draft pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft if either player signs with another team this winter. Both players have the option of accepting arbitration and remaining with the Rangers on a one-year deal.

Byrd has made it clear that he would like to stay with the Rangers but is looking for a multi-year contract as a free agent. Rodriguez, who turned 38 this offseason, has made it clear that he would like to finish his career with Texas. Both players have until 11 p.m. CT on Monday to accept the offer.

"We've had dialogue with the agents for both guys and have interest in them returning under the right circumstances," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "At the same time, we understand they have options they're going to look into. We'll continue to stay in touch. Either we have a winning player for 2010 or a Draft pick for the future."

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star and 13-time Gold Glove winner, hit .245 with two home runs and 13 RBIs in 28 games with the Rangers. He was acquired from the Astros on Aug. 17 to help out down the stretch when catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia went down with a shoulder injury.

If Rodriguez accepts arbitration, he could end up as the Rangers backup catcher behind Saltalamacchia with Teagarden beginning the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City. He also offers Texas insurance in case Saltalamacchia isn't fully recovered from shoulder surgery.

There are a number of teams looking for catching help this offseason. The Nationals, Blue Jays, Indians, Mets, Astros and Brewers are all looking for a front-line catcher. Bengie Molina, who was with the Giants last season, is considered the top free-agent catcher on the market.

Byrd, who played 104 games in center field, hit .283 with 20 home runs and a club-leading 89 RBIs with Texas in 2009. The Rangers went into the offseason looking for a right-handed bat for the middle of the order and among the players they could have interest in includes Jermaine Dye, Vladimir Guerrero, Mike Cameron, Gary Sheffield, Troy Glaus and Fernando Tatis.

If Byrd does not sign with the Rangers, the club is likely to go with Josh Hamilton and Julio Borbon as its center fielders and concentrating on finding a middle-of-the-order right-handed bat. Cameron is the only right-handed hitting center fielder who could attract the Rangers' interest.

Outfield coach Gary Pettis is in the Dominican Republic this week to check up on Borbon, who hit .312 with a .376 on-base percentage and 19 steals in 46 games with the Rangers this past season. Hamilton was an All-Star center fielder with Texas in 2008 before being limited to 89 games in '09 because of injuries.

The Rangers would still like to re-sign Byrd but have not made significant progress toward that end.

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


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