Mariners offer arbitration to Beltre, not Bedard

To no surprise, the Mariners have offered salary arbitration to free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre but won’t offer it to pitcher Erik Bedard.

Teams have until 9 p.m. today to offer arbitration to eligible free agents.

Because Beltre is a Type B free agent, the Mariners will receive a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds next June if he signs with another team. Of course, there’s a chance Beltre will accept the offer, which would lock himself in with the Mariners for another year and, if he and the club can’t reach an agreement, let an arbitrator award his 2010 salary.

The chances of that happening seem as likely as a month of sunny December days in Seattle. Beltre, represented by agent Scott Boras, seems certain to test a free agent market that will have teams interested in him. He has until Monday to make that decision.

The Mariners could still try to bring Beltre back, although it will be interesting to gauge his interest in returning to Seattle vs. the potential for playing with, say, the Red Sox, who are among teams mentioned as having interest. It’s easy to assume he’d like taking his hacks at the Green Monster in Fenway Park, only 310 feet from the plate down the left-field line, vs. the 331 feet and heavy air at Safeco Field. However, Beltre is a career .179 hitter at Fenway (it’s .252 at Safeco).

As for Bedard, the Mariners can still negotiate with him but aren’t expected to offer him anything more than an incentive-filled one-year deal and see how it compares with what he could get elsewhere. The Orioles and Royals have both expressed interest in Bedard.

Bedard won’t be ready to pitch until May at the earliest after having surgery last August to repair a torn labrum. It’s an injury that some pitchers have never fully recovered from.

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