The Braves blinked, and Sheffield’s free and clear to sign with the Yankees because they were afraid to offer arbitration to one of baseball’s best hitters. Javy was also not offered arbitration. The Phillies did offer Millwood — in this climate, he might accept, but I don’t know what that does to their budget. I don’t know about Castilla or anyone else. Only two dozen or so players were offered arbitration, a far cry from what once happened.
I think something has to be done about the arbitration rules, and soon, because this isn’t the result people were looking for. Either they have to move the deadline back to January or they have to allow teams to negotiate with their own free agents after declining to arbitrate. But nothing will happen until the next CBA, and you know how awful those negotiations always are. But it’s not good for anyone — owners, players, or the game as a whole — to say that Greg Maddux can’t negotiate with the Braves or that Texas can’t negotiate with Rafael Palmeiro.