Carlos Lee, Aramis Ramirez lead latest free-agent filers

Originally Published: October 30, 2006

Carlos Lee is ready to cash in on his career season.

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Lee was among 39 players to file for free agency Monday, a list that also includes Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez and St. Louis Cardinals postseason hero Scott Spiezio.

An All-Star each of the last two seasons, Lee played 102 games with the Milwaukee Brewers last year before being dealt to the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline. The Panamanian left fielder batted .300 with career highs of 37 home runs and 116 RBI in 161 games with the two teams.

Lee, 30, is a career .286 hitter with 221 homers and 782 RBI in eight seasons with Texas, Milwaukee and the Chicago White Sox. He is considered one of the top-tier offensive free agents this offseason along with Washington Nationals slugger Alfonso Soriano, who filed Sunday.

Ramirez, 28, quietly enjoyed a fine offensive season in an otherwise dismal year for the Cubs, batting .291 with career highs of 38 homers and 119 RBI. The Dominican slugger owns a career average of .279 with 196 homers and 669 RBI in nine seasons with the Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Spiezio, 34, batted .272 with 13 homers and 52 RBI for the reigning World Series champion Cardinals. The veteran utility man delivered some key hits in St. Louis' National League Championship Series victory over the New York Mets, collecting five RBI in the series.

An 11-year veteran, Spiezio will be joined on the free-agent market by teammates Ronnie Belliard and Jason Marquis.

Acquired at the trade deadline from the Cleveland Indians, Belliard batted .237 with five homers and 23 RBI in 54 regular-season games with the Cardinals before batting .240 with four RBI in 14 postseason contests. The portly second baseman owns a career .272 average with 80 homers in eight-plus seasons with St. Louis, Cleveland and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Marquis struggled through a rough regular season and was left off the Cardinals' playoff roster after going 14-16 with a 6.02 ERA in 33 starts. The right-hander is 56-52 with a 4.55 career ERA in seven seasons with the Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves.

The best starting pitcher to file Monday was Texas Rangers righthander Vicente Padilla, who went 15-10 with a 4.50 ERA and a career-high 156 strikeouts in 33 outings. The 29-year-old Nicaraguan is 66-61 with a 4.06 ERA in seven-plus seasons with Texas, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Among other players to file Monday were Diamondbacks right-hander Miguel Batista, Nationals outfielder Jose Guillen and San Francisco Giants second baseman Ray Durham.