Sixty-five players file for free agency on first day
The trio were among 65 players who filed on the first possible day. Thursday began a 15-day window in which approximately 180 players can become free agents.
Eligible players may file through Nov. 13, and teams can start negotiating money with players the following day.
A trio of pitchers -- Milwaukee's CC Sabathia, Toronto's A.J. Burnett and the Los Angeles Angels' Francisco Rodriguez -- figure to be among the most prized free agents in this year's group. Burnett is expected to opt out of the final two seasons of his $55 million, five-year contract with Toronto, forgo $24 million in remaining salary and enter the market.
Ken Griffey Jr. became eligible Thursday when the Chicago White Sox declined his $16.5 million option. Griffey is owed a $4 million buyout, which completes a $116.5 million, nine-year contract that he agreed to with the Cincinnati Reds before the 2000 season.
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The 38-year old hit a combined .249 with 18 homers and 71 RBIs in 143 games last season for the Reds and the White Sox, who acquired him July 31. Chicago also declined a $2.25 million option on backup catcher Toby Hall, who gets a $150,000 buyout.
Detroit declined an $11 million option on shortstop Edgar Renteria, choosing to give him a $3 million buyout.
Mets outfielder Fernando Tatis, who had been eligible for free agency, agreed to a $1.7 million, one-year contract.
Washington declined a $5 million club option on outfielder Wily Mo Pena, who then exercised a $2 million player option. Nationals reliever Chad Cordero also refused an outright assignment to the minors and elected to become a free agent. The right-hander appeared in six games before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press