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Tampa Bay Rays' Baldelli files for free agency

As expected, Rays rightfielder/designated hitter Rocco Baldelli filed for free agency Friday, along with 41 other major-league players.

During the season the Rays declined to pick up Baldelli's $6-million option for 2009, but executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said Thursday that he expected the sides would talk soon and "try to figure out a way to continue working together."

Outfielder Eric Hinske is the Rays' other free agent.

Approximately 70 more players are potentially eligible to file for free agency by the Nov. 13 deadline. Free agents can start negotiating with all teams the next day.

Yanks eye Manny

TAMPA — Hank Steinbrenner said the Yankees will explore all options during the offseason, including making an offer to free-agent slugger Manny Ramirez.

"There's nothing we are not looking at," said Steinbrenner, co-chairman of his father's team. "And personally, I like Manny. He's one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game. He's a free spirit for sure, but he knows how to win. We like some of the other guys, too. We just don't know yet."

Ramirez was traded from the Red Sox to the Dodgers on July 31, and Los Angeles is expected to attempt to re-sign him.

New York's priority is pitching, and CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett figure to be the top starters on the market.

"Every team in baseball wants Sabathia," Steinbrenner said. "It's not a real secret. Pitching is in the forefront for everybody, not just us. That's why starting pitching is at a premium."

A's: Oakland declined its $3-million option on lefty Alan Embree.

Blue Jays: The team exercised a $2.5-million option on catcher Rod Barajas, who hit .249 with 11 homers and 49 RBIs.

Braves: Pitcher John Smoltz filed for free agency.

Brewers: Pitcher CC Sabathia will soon be receiving a contract offer from the team. "We're prepared to do something with him here very shortly," general manager Doug Melvin said. Milwaukee acquired Sabathia from Cleveland for four top prospects on July 7, and he went 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts, including seven complete games. That run could get him a contract topping the record for a pitcher, Johan Santana's $137.5-million, six-year agreement with the Mets. … Milwaukee declined a $3.4-million option on infielder Craig Counsell, who gets a $400,000 buyout.

Cardinals: Backup catcher Jason LaRue agreed to a one-year, $950,000 contract rather than file for free agency.

Cubs: The team declined the $3-million option for backup catcher Henry Blanco. His 2009 option was bought out for $300,000.

Mets: The team exercised first baseman Carlos Delgado's $12-million option for next year. Pitcher Pedro Martinez was among six Mets who filed for free agency; the others were outfielder Moises Alou, second baseman Ramon Martinez and pitchers Tony Armas, Luis Ayala and Ricardo Rincon.

Pirates: The team declined the $2.6-million 2009 option on outfielder Jason Michaels.

Red Sox: The team exercised the $4-million option for 2009 on pitcher Tim Wakefield. The knuckleballer, 42, was 10-11 with a 4.13 ERA in 30 starts this year, his 14th season in Boston. Pitchers Curt Schilling and Bartolo Colon filed for free agency.

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay Rays' Baldelli files for free agency 10/31/08 [Last modified: Friday, November 7, 2008 12:46pm]
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