Sosa, Everett file for free agency

NEW YORK -- Baltimore's Sammy Sosa filed for free agency Monday along with World Series star Geoff Blum and Chicago White Sox teammate Carl Everett.

Sosa was a bust in his first and likely only season with the Orioles, who acquired him from the Chicago Cubs in February with one year left on his $72 million, four-year contract. The 36-year-old outfielder, fifth on the career list with 588 homers, was limited by injuries to 380 at-bats and hit .221 with 14 homers and 45 RBI.

Blum's 14th-inning homer sent the White Sox to a 7-5 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the World Series last week and helped Chicago to a sweep. The reserve infielder was acquired from San Diego on July 31.

Everett was 4-for-9 in the Series after hitting .251 during the
regular season with 23 homers and 87 RBI. He filed after the White Sox declined his $5 million option for next year, choosing to give him a $500,000 buyout. Chicago also exercised its $1.2 million option on right-handed reliever Cliff Politte, who could have been bought out for $100,000.

In addition, the White Sox said Frank Thomas exercised his $10 million option, giving the team five days to decide whether to keep the best slugger in team history or buy out the oft-injured designated hitter for $3.5 million.

Thomas, a two-time AL MVP, has spent his entire career with the
White Sox and has said repeatedly he wants to come back. Chicago is
expected to give him the buyout, and then negotiate another deal at a lower price.

He missed much of the last two years with foot and ankle problems. The 37-year-old Thomas played only two months this year, but he hit 12 homers in 105 at-bats.

Across town, the Chicago Cubs and Glendon Rusch agreed to a $6 million, two-year contract, replacing a $2 million option he had for next season. He was 9-8 with a 4.52 ERA this year, making 19 starts and throwing his first shutout in nearly three years.

Closer Braden Looper's $5.5 million option was declined by the New York Mets, who will pay the reliever a $250,000 buyout. New York also exercised right-hander Steve Trachsel's $2.5 million option and declined a $4 million option on first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who gets a $450,000 buyout.

"Even though we declined Braden's option, we still plan on having conversations with his agent," Mets general manager Omar Minaya said.

Looper went 4-7 with a 3.94 ERA and 28 saves in 36 chances and had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder on Oct. 3, the day after the season ended. Trachsel missed most of the season following back surgery in March and went 1-4 with a 4.14 ERA. Mientkiewicz, acquired from Boston last winter after the Mets failed to sign free-agent Carlos Delgado, hit .240 with 11 homers and 29 RBI.

The Los Angeles Angels declined their $1,525,000 option on 36-year-old left-hander Jason Christiansen and will pay a $125,000 buyout. Christiansen was 0-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 12 games with the Angels, who obtained him from San Francisco on Aug. 30. He went 6-1 with a 5.36 ERA in 56 games with the Giants.

Boston reliever Mike Myers also filed for free agency. The left-hander was 3-1 last season with a 3.13 ERA in 65 appearances spanning 37 1/3 innings.

A total of 137 players have filed for free agency, and approximately 60 more are eligible to file by the Nov. 10 deadline. Free agents can talk money with all teams starting the following day.