Friday December 03, 2010 | 06:25 AM

Thursday was the deadline for major league teams to offer contracts to those players eligible for arbitration. If an offer is made, a player is bound to that team, although he can get a better contract through arbitration.

It is no surprise that Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonathan Papelbon are still with the Red Sox.

Also expected was reliever Hideki Okajima not receiving a contract. His production has decreased. Okajima had a 4.50 ERA with Boston last year.

But Boston also did not offer arbitration to Taylor Buchholz and Andrew Miller, two pitchers the Red Sox recently picked up (Buchholz off waivers from Toronto, and Miller from the Marlins in a trade for Dustin Richardson).

For now, Okajima, Buchholz and Miller are all free agents.

Two possibilities on Buchholz and/or Miller: Either Boston has decided neither pitcher is a fit, or the Red Sox are gambling that they can sign the pitcher(s) for less money than they would have had to fork out in the arbitration process.

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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