Matsui, Damon Become Free-Agents

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

NEW YORK (AP) -- Hideki Matsui, voted most valuable player in the World Series, became a free agent Monday along with New York Yankees teammates Johnny Damon, Eric Hinske, Jose Molina and Xavier Nady.

Matsui and Damon both said after the Yankees' six-game victory over Philadelphia last week that they would like to stay with New York. The Yankees said it was too early to address how they want to formulate their team for 2010.

Phillies third baseman Pedro Feliz also filed Monday, as did teammates Matt Stairs, Chan Ho Park and Paul Bako. Feliz's $5.5 million option was declined by Philadelphia on Sunday.

Also among the 31 players filing were Minnesota shortstop Orlando Cabrera, Mets outfielder Gary Sheffield and Colorado pitcher Jose Contreras. There are 151 players who have filed since the end of the World Series, and 28 more potentially are eligible to file by the Nov. 19 deadline.

Boston prevented Victor Martinez from filing by exercising a $7.7 million option on the catcher-first baseman. The Red Sox declined a $6 million option on shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who gets a $500,000 buyout and immediately filed.

Boston also declined a $5 million option on captain Jason Varitek, and the catcher now must decide whether to exercise a $3 million player option. Rather than exercise its $4 million option on Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox agreed to a $5 million, two-year contract with 43-year-old knuckleballer.

Tampa Bay blocked Carl Crawford from becoming eligible for free agency by exercising a $10 million option on the All-Star left fielder. The Rays declined $2 million options on left-handed reliever Brian Shouse and backup catcher Gregg Zaun. Shouse gets a $200,000 buyout and Zaun receives a $500,000 buyout.

Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Will Ohman filed after the team declined his $2.2 million option. He gets a $200,000 buyout.


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