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Red Sox Free Agency 2011: David Ortiz And Dan Wheeler Offered Salary Arbitration

Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has a big decision to make -- and he has to make it by Dec. 7, 2011.

That's how long "Big Papi" has to decide on whether or not to accept salary arbitration, which was extended to him earlier today from the "Beantown" brass.

Boston.com has more:

Ortiz has until Dec. 7 to accept or decline. If he accepts, he would be Red Sox property for 2012 ... Ortiz has said he wants a multi-year deal. But he could be tempted by the offer of arbitration, knowing that he would get a raise from the $12.5 million he made last season.

Ortiz came into the off-season batting.309 with 40 doubles, 29 homers and 96 ribbies.

Also getting the chance to opt-in (or out) is right-handed reliever Dan Wheeler, who finished the 2011 season with a 2-2 record and ERA of 4.38 in 47 games.

The Red Sox previously elected not exercise their $3 million option on Wheeler for 2012 yet offered him arbitration. That seems like an unusual move, unless there is an informal agreement for Wheeler not to accept. Under arbitration rules, the Red Sox would have to offer Wheeler at least $2.4 million if he accepts.

Could the Red Sox end up using both Ortiz and Wheeler again in the 2012 season?

Stay tuned.