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November 11, 2009

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MVP Matsui and Damon become free agent

HIDEKI Matsui, voted most valuable player in the World Series, became a free agent on Monday along with New York Yankees teammates Johnny Damon, Eric Hinske, Jose Molina and Xavier Nady.

Matsui and Damon both said after the Yankees' six-game victory over Philadelphia last week that they would like to stay with New York. The Yankees said it was too early to address how they want to formulate their team for 2010.

Phillies third baseman Pedro Feliz also filed on Monday, as did teammates Matt Stairs, Chan Ho Park and Paul Bako. Feliz's US$5.5 million option was declined by Philadelphia on Sunday.

Also among the 31 players filing were Minnesota shortstop Orlando Cabrera, Mets outfielder Gary Sheffield and Colorado pitcher Jose Contreras. There are 151 players who have filed since the end of the World Series, and 28 more potentially are eligible to file by the November 19 deadline.

Boston prevented Victor Martinez from filing by exercising a US$7.7 million option on the catcher-first baseman. The Red Sox declined a US$6 million option on shortstop Alex Gonzalez, who gets a US$500,000 buyout and immediately filed.

Boston also declined a US$5 million option on captain Jason Varitek, and the catcher now must decide whether to exercise a US$3 million player option.

Rather than exercise its US$4 million option on Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox agreed to a US$5 million, two-year contract with 43-year-old knuckleballer.


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