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11/03/10 6:50 PM EST

Bidding for Webb not out of the question

Club not likely to make an offer during exclusive-rights period

PHOENIX -- The D-backs have not ruled out making an offer to free-agent pitcher Brandon Webb, but it appears the club will not do so before its five-day window of exclusivity expires and will wait to see what the market is for him.

Webb, who became a free agent along with 141 other players following the conclusion of the World Series on Sunday, cannot begin negotiations with other teams until midnight Eastern Time on Saturday.

"Although we have not entirely closed the door on Brandon returning to the D-backs next season, I understand the process he and his agent are going through at this time as a free agent," said D-backs GM Kevin Towers. "Brandon was one of the elite pitchers in the National League and a leader on D-backs pitching staffs until suffering the injury two years ago. We wish him continued success as he goes through this process."

Webb was drafted by the D-backs, came up through their system, and won the National League Cy Young Award in 2006 before injuring his shoulder during Opening Day of '09. The right-hander had surgery in August of '09 and has not pitched in a Major League game since, though he did make three appearances during instructional league this fall.

Webb made $8.5 million last season and the D-backs are unlikely to get into a bidding war for his services. Rather, they will wait to see what kind of offers he gets from other teams before deciding for certain whether to make an offer.

"Brandon and I have both said before that he would love to stay with the Diamondbacks," Webb's agent, Jonathan Maurer said. "There will be a number of teams interested in Brandon's services and we will explore all of our options during the free-agent process."

In seven seasons, Webb is 87-62 with a 3.27 ERA and he pitched at least 200 innings from 2004-08. In addition to winning the Cy Young Award in 2006, he was the runner-up in '07 and '08.

D-backs team president/CEO Derrick Hall and managing general partner Ken Kendrick each issued statements along with Towers on Wednesday.

"Brandon has made significant contributions to the D-backs organization -- both on and off the field -- since we drafted him 10 years ago," Kendrick said. "He and Randy Johnson top nearly every pitching category among our franchise's all-time leaders, and are the only two D-backs to win a Cy Young Award. Brandon also gave his time and resources to the local community through his K Foundation, which means a great deal to me."

"I certainly understand Brandon's decision to test the free-agent market and I wish him well," Hall said. "He has meant so much to this franchise and provided this team and our fans with magical memories. His contributions both on and off the field are greatly appreciated and should be recognized. His wife and children have been beautiful additions to our D-backs family and we will always consider them members of it."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.