Cardinals decline options on Vina, Fassero, Carpenter

Updated: November 3, 2003, 6:34 PM ET

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Cardinals declined options Monday on Gold Glove second baseman Fernando Vina, left-hander Jeff Fassero and right-hander Chris Carpenter.

Vina, who missed much of the season due to a hamstring injury, gets a $1 million buyout instead of a $4.5 million salary. Fassero gets $250,000 rather than $1.5 million, and Carpenter gets $200,000 instead of $2 million. All three filed for free agency.

Last week, the Cardinals declined a $7 million option on left-hander Sterling Hitchcock, choosing to pay a $1 million buyout.

General manager Walt Jocketty did not return a telephone call seeking comment. He has said the Cardinals need to improve their starting pitching before next season to add depth behind Matt Morris and Woody Williams.

St. Louis is expected to maintain a payroll of about $80 million.

Vina, 34, missed much of last season with a hamstring injury. He hit .251 in 61 games with an on-base percentage of .309, low for a leadoff man.

Still, Vina was a popular and integral part of teams that made the playoffs in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

He hit .300 in 2000 and .303 in 2001, and he has a .284 career average in 11 seasons. He won NL Gold Glove award in 2001 and 2002.

Rookie Bo Hart played respectably in Vina's absence, hitting .277 with four homers, 28 RBIss and four errors in 77 games.

Fassero, 40, was 1-7 with a 5.68 ERA in 62 games.

The Cardinals signed Carpenter in December, hoping he would recover by midseason from elbow surgery that caused him to miss the 2002 season. But he didn't get into any games. Carpenter last pitched in 2001 for Toronto, going 4-5 with a 5.28 ERA.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index