Lackey, Holliday among first to file for free agency

Published 2:40 am Friday, November 6, 2009

NEW YORK — Pitcher John Lackey and outfielder Matt Holliday were among 79 players who filed for free agency Thursday, the first possible day.

Outfielder Jason Bay, first baseman Carlos Delgado, pitcher John Smoltz and reliever Billy Wagner also filed as did pitcher Jon Garland after the Los Angeles Dodgers declined his $10 million option. He will receive a $2.5 million buyout.

Instead of becoming a free agent again, outfielder Bobby Abreu agreed to a $19 million, two-year contract to stay with the Angels.

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“I really feel happy here with Los Angeles,” Abreu said. “I really enjoy to play for them, and I think when they started with the conversation for the contract and we didn’t have any problems back and forth, it was a nice negotiation. It was no problem to stay and come back with the Angels.”

Abreu hit .293 with 15 homers, 103 RBIs, 30 steals and 94 walks as Los Angeles won the AL West and advanced to the AL championship series.

Approximately 100 more players are potentially eligible to file by the Nov. 19 deadline.

Mark Kotsay agreed to a $1.5 million contract to remain with the Chicago White Sox rather than become eligible for free agency. The 33-year-old infielder and outfielder hit .278 with four homers and 23 RBIs in 67 games combined with Boston and the White Sox.

Colorado agreed to an $850,000, one-year contract with right-hander Matt Belisle and a $650,000, one-year deal with left-hander Randy Flores.

Also filing for free agency were Arizona infielder Chad Tracy and Florida first baseman-outfielder Ross Gload. Tracy’s $7 million option was declined by Diamondbacks, and he will receive a $1 million buyout.

The Marlins declined a $2.6 million option on Gload and traded outfielder Jeremy Hermida to Boston for left-handers Hunter Jones and Jose Alvarez.