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Baseball free agency under way
Albert Pujols had a world championship parade to attend in St. Louis on Sunday.
But he also had some paperwork to fill out.
Baseball's free-agency filing period began at 12:01 a.m. ET on Sunday. Pujols, who just helped the lead the Cardinals to their 11th World Series title, was the biggest name to file. Baseball observers have long anticipated the intense competition among teams this winter for Pujols and rival free-agent first baseman Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers.
The players union said Sunday afternoon that 148 players filed for free agency in all, including Pujols, Fielder, Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, Giants outfielder Carlos Beltran, Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon, and Padres closer Heath Bell.
Yankees ace CC Sabathia has yet to file but has the right to opt out of his contract and become a free agent. It’s possible that he will agree to terms with the Yankees on a new deal before filing.
Players can begin signing with new teams at 12:01 a.m. ET Thursday. It's likely that Pujols and Fielder will take much longer than that to join a new team. The baseball free-agent market — at least for big-name players — tends to move more slowly than in basketball or hockey.
Teams will likely avoid signing players to large contracts until after the sport's new Collective Bargaining Agreement is ratified. That could happen within the next several days, as negotiators for MLB and the players' union have made progress toward a deal in recent weeks.
The current CBA is set to expire Dec. 11. The agreement should be in place long before then.
• Players who filed for free agency, as supplied by the Major League Baseball Players Association:
Baltimore: Vladimir Guerrero, Cesar Izturis.
Cincinnati: Ramon J. Hernandez, Edgar Renteria, Dontrelle Willis.
Cleveland: Chad Durbin, Kosuke Fukudome, Jim Thome.
Oakland: Coco Crisp, David DeJesus, Rich Harden, Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham.
Seattle: Josh Bard, Adam Kennedy, Wily Pena, Jamey Wright.
• Players who are eligible for free agency pending option provisions:
Arizona: Zach Duke, Henry Blanco, Willie Bloomquist, Aaron Hill.
Boston: Marco Scutaro, Daniel Wheeler.
Chicago Cubs: Aramis Ramirez.
Cincinnati: Francisco Cordero, Brandon Phillips.
Cleveland: Grady Sizemore.
Colorado: Jason Giambi.
Los Angeles Angels: Vernon Wells.
San Francisco: Jeremy Affeldt.
Tampa Bay: Kyle Farnsworth, Kelly Shoppach.
Toronto: Edwin Encarnacion, Jon Rauch.