Baseball gets down to business

The Giants were literally still pouring champagne on each other last night when the MLBPA sent out a press release announcing that 142 players had become free agents.

Under the new rules of the adjusted collective bargaining agreement, players no longer have to file for free agency. It happens automatically upon the end of the season.

So Mike Lowell, Victor Martinez and Jason Varitek are now officially free agents. The Red Sox have a five-day window of negotiating exclusivity and that clock is ticking.

Players who have options — a group that includes Scott Atchison, Adrian Beltre, Bill Hall and David Ortiz — have three days for those decisions to be made. That deadline comes Thursday at midnight.


The Red Sox hold options on Atchison (approximately $450,000), Hall ($9.25 million) and Ortiz ($12.5 million) while Beltre holds a $10 million player option.

Hall has been told informally that his option will be declined, although the Red Sox would like to try and keep him. Beltre, of course, will turn his down. The Sox will likely keep Atchison. Ortiz is anybody’s guess at this point. The sides are talking.

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