Indians' Vizquel, Wickman file for free agency

Nomar Garciaparra also filed for free agency Friday.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel and closer Bob Wickman filed for free agency on Friday after the team declined to pick up $5 million options on the two veterans earlier this month.
Vizquel, 37, has said he wants to return for a 12th season in Cleveland, but the Indians are targeting a starting pitcher.
General manager Mark Shapiro has expressed an interest in bringing back the widely popular Vizquel but has also said it would be "a longshot."
The Indians will pay Vizquel's $1 million buyout and could sign him to a new deal or enter salary arbitration with him by Dec. 7.
Vizquel batted .291 with seven homers and 59 RBIs this season. He also scored 82 runs, stole 19 bases and did not commit an error over the last 55 games.
Wickman, 36, had been contemplating retirement and the Indians had been waiting to hear from him. His free agency filing may indicate he will play again.
Wickman, who missed most of two seasons after undergoing elbow surgery, went 0-2 with a 4.25 ERA in 30 appearances this year. He had 13 saves in 14 tries.
Around the league
Nomar Garciaparra filed for free agency Friday, two days after the All-Star shortstop's former team, the Boston Red Sox, won the World Series.
Until he was traded to the Chicago Cubs on July 31 as part of a four-team trade, Garciaparra had spent his entire career -- 8 1/2 years -- with the Red Sox.
Garciaparra has said he would consider returning to Chicago, and general manager Jim Hendry has already spoken with his agent, Arn Tellem. But Garciaparra also wants to test the free agent market for the first time in his career.
In their first move since winning their first Series title since 1918, the Red Sox exercised a $2.5 million option on third baseman Bill Mueller instead of paying a $500,000 buyout.
The 2003 AL batting champion, Mueller hit .283 with 12 homers and 57 RBIs this season.
Mueller, limited to 110 games by arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, had the tying single against the New York Yankees' Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the AL championship series, starting Boston's comeback from an 0-3 deficit.
Boston has up to 16 players eligible for free agency, including pitchers Terry Adams and Pedro Astacio, who were among 58 players to file Friday, raising the total to 123 of the 215 potentially eligible.
Cardinals shortstop Edgar Renteria filed along with catcher Mike Matheny and outfielder Ray Lankford. Re-signing Renteria, 29, is expected to be one of the Cardinals' top priorities. He batted .287 with 10 home runs and 72 RBIs this season.
Florida All-Star third baseman Mike Lowell, who could have opted out of his contract, agreed to a new contract with the Florida Marlins that guarantees the remaining $25.5 million his previous deal called for.
Cincinnati exercised first baseman Sean Casey's $8.5 million option for 2006.
Cincinnati shortstop Barry Larkin filed for free agency along with Colorado third baseman Vinny Castilla, who declined a $2.1 million mutual option after hitting 35 homers in his first season back with the Rockies and leading the NL with 131 RBIs.
Texas declined an $8,066,667 option on Rusty Greer and will give a $600,000 buyout to the injured outfielder, who hasn't played since July 11, 2002, but has collected $21.8 million for the 2002, 2003 and 2004 seasons.
The Rangers also declined a $4 million option on outfielder Brian Jordan, who will get a $125,000 buyout.
The Yankees declined a $3 million option on first baseman Travis Lee and a $3.6 million 2006 option on reliever Paul Quantrill. Lee gets a $250,000 buyout and Quantrill a $400,000 buyout.
The Cubs exercised their $2 million option on right-hander Ryan Dempster, and Detroit declined a $1.1 million option on right-hander Al Levine, instead giving him a $100,000 buyout.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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