According to a source close to Sox catcher Jason Varitek, Boston's captain will decline salary arbitration from the Red Sox tonight before the midnight deadline. I can't say I'm all that surprised, especially with super chooch Scott Boras as Tek's agent, but it may be a tough pill to swallow to see Tek if he ends up in another uniform next year.
By declining salary arbitration, Tek can openly enter the free agent market and take offers from other teams. While the demand for an aging catcher that hit .220 last year seems like it should be low, there are plenty of national league teams who wouldn't mind the low offensive output as Tek would bring veteran leadership so some of the young pitching staffs in the NL. Think about some of the terrible NL catchers out there, and then remember that 75% of Tek's value comes from his defense, leadership and uncanny game prep.
Tek can (and most likely will) continue to negotiate with the Red Sox going forward, but the only difference is now the Sox are no longer dealing with Tek exclusively.
Boras is convinced he can get a longer term deal for big money in return for Tek's services.....the winter meetings start in just a few hours...time will tell.