The Toronto Blue Jays have assured themselves of a return, should the most notable of their free agents — relief pitchers Kevin Gregg, Scott Downs and Jason Frasor — sign elsewhere in the off-season.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos offered salary arbitration to all of their free agents before a Tuesday night deadline.
Downs and Frasor are Type A free agents, meaning the Blue Jays would reap two compensatory picks in next June's amateur draft if they leave.
Gregg and catcher Miguel Olivo, whom Anthopoulos acquired by trade from Colorado ahead of a Nov. 5 for picking up or declining contract options for 2011, are Type B free agents and would fetch one compensatory pick.
Anthopoulos declined to pick up Olivo's $2.5 million US team option for next season following the deal, making the 32-year-old a free agent, but assumed responsibility for a $500,000 buyout as well as rights for any compensation.
All four players can choose by Nov. 30 to accept arbitration and remain property of the Blue Jays.
First baseman Lyle Overbay, who was the subject of trade rumours dating back to spring training in March, didn't qualify for compensation and was the only Toronto free agent to be declined arbitration.
The Blue Jays will receive one pick after John Buck, a Type B free agent who caught 118 games this past season, signed a three-year deal worth $18 million US with the Florida Marlins on Nov. 17.
Pitchers Brian Tallet and Shawn Hill, along with outfielder DeWayne Wise are Toronto's other major league free agents.