Last week during a radio interview about Papalbon, Theo discussed the Red Sox philosophy on free agency and arbitration. I boiled it down to "Theo's Rule" which says that the Sox will not give a multi-year contract to arbitration eligible players unless it contains at least 1 free agent year. For example, Theo said they really haven't spoken with Papelbon about an extension because he made it clear years ago he wanted to be a free agent. Therefore, negotiations ended some time ago. On the other hand they have Yukolis and others locked up because they would negotiate.
My question is should the Bucs adopt this strategy with the Calvary? This might mean we lose players who won't give a free agent year. However other players who value stability might have an incentive to sign early. It also provides the organization clarity. In the case of the Sox, Bard has already been groomed for the post Papelbon era. The Pirates aren’t the Sox I know, but I think the model is correct.