Lowe, Varitek headline the Sox list

Originally Published: November 1, 2004
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Right-hander Derek Lowe and catcher Jason Varitek led a parade of 10 Red Sox who filed for free agency Monday, two days after they were honored in Boston following the team's first World Series title since 1918.

Shortstop Orlando Cabrera and backup catcher Doug Mirabelli also filed along with right-handers Curtis Leskanic, Ramiro Mendoza and Scott Williamson; left-hander Mike Myers; first baseman Dave McCarty and second baseman Pokey Reese.

Leskanic filed after Boston declined a $1.25 million option, electing to pay a $100,000 buyout.

Thirteen Red Sox have filed for free agency since Boston won the World Series last Wednesday, and three more are eligible, including pitcher Pedro Martinez.

Three players from the NL champion St. Louis Cardinals filed: second baseman Tony Womack, right-hander Matt Morris and left-hander Steve Kline.

Richie Sexson filed on Monday, but Arizona Diamondbacks general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said the move had no bearing on the team's trying to re-sign the slugging first baseman.

"I would attach no significance to the fact that he filed," Garagiola said.

Garagiola said that he spoke by telephone Monday with Sexson's agent Casey Close, but declined to characterize the tone or content of the discussion.

Last week, the Diamondbacks made what Garagiola called a "significantly improved" offer to Sexson, who played just 23 games for Arizona last season before going down with a shoulder injury. Garagiola said Close told him that all of the eligible IMG-represented players had filed for free agency on Monday.

The New York Mets declined a $15 million option on Richard Hidalgo and opted to pay the outfielder a $2 million buyout. Hidalgo then filed for free agency along with right-handers Kris Benson and Ricky Bottalico, left-hander John Franco and first baseman Todd Zeile, who plans to retire.

"We are open-minded to speaking to Richard about coming back next year," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said.

Hidalgo, acquired from Houston on June 17, hit .228 (74-for-324) with 21 homers and 52 RBI in 86 games with New York. New York has spoken with the agent for Benson, obtained from Pittsburgh in late July. The Mets have said they would like to re-sign him.

Franco, the 44-year-old team captain, probably won't be asked back.

Tampa Bay declined an $8 million option on Tino Martinez and will pay him a $1 million buyout. The Devil Rays, his hometown team, remain interested in re-signing the 37-year-old first baseman.

The Devil Rays obtained Martinez from the Cardinals in a trade last winter and he hit .263 with 23 homers and 78 RBI in 138 games this year.

Also Monday, right-hander Kevin Appier asked to be reinistated from the voluntary retired list by the Kansas City Royals and filed for free agency.

Forty-three players filed Monday, including Philadelphia left-hander Eric Milton, Chicago Cubs outfielder Moises Alou, Houston second baseman Jeff Kent and Anaheim designated hitter Andres Galarraga.

A total of 170 players have filed for free agency, and up to 46 more are potentially eligible to file by the Nov. 11 deadline.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press