Jayson Werth declined salary arbitration with Philadelphia before Tuesday's midnight ET deadline.
The news is hardly surprising. Werth is expecting to land a once-in-a-lifetime contract, as he is one of the top two free-agent outfielders on the market (Carl Crawford being the other). Had he accepted arbitration, Werth would have been signed to a one-year contract with the Phillies. The only way that would have happened (and made sense) would have been if the market had not existed for him.
Phils fans might recall that Werth's agent, Scott Boras, had another client, Kevin Millwood, accept arbitration with Philadelphia in 2003, when there was no market for him. That shouldn't be the case with Werth, with such teams as the Red Sox and Angels reportedly interested.
The Phillies will receive two picks in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft as compensation if, as expected, Werth signs elsewhere: the team's top available pick and a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds.
Declining arbitration does not prevent the Phils from trying to re-sign Werth, and they can continue to talk with Boras about a deal.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.