Three Cleveland Indians officially filed for free agency today, according to a press release from the MLB Players Association.
Jim Thome, Kosuke Fukudome, and Chad Durbin are hitting the open market. The Indians have exclusive negotiating rights with them until the end of the day Wednesday, at which point the other 29 teams can begin to bid for their services.
Although Thome and Fukudome came close, none of the three project to qualify as Type A or B free agents, meaning they would not net the Indians draft pick compensation if they decline arbitration and then sign with another team. A clause in Fukudome’s contract would have prevented the team from offering him arbitration anyway.
Fukudome will have to settle for a significant pay cut from his $13.5 million 2011 salary—he won’t get an offer anywhere near as large as the four-year, $48 million contract the Cubs gave him in 2007. Thome (who made $3 million in 2011) and Durbin ($800,000) also will probably not earn as much in 2012 as they did last year, but the differences will be less drastic.
Interestingly, all three of the Tribe’s free agents joined the team in 2011. Durbin signed a one-year deal with Cleveland in February, while Fukudome and Thome were acquired via trade in July and August, respectively.
Former Indians Josh Bard (currently with the Mariners), Casey Blake (Dodgers), Russell Branyan (Angels), Orlando Cabrera (Giants), Bartolo Colon (Yankees), Alex Cora (Nationals), Coco Crisp (Athletics), Mark DeRosa (Giants), Ryan Ludwick (Pirates), John McDonald (Diamondbacks), Jason Michaels (Astros), Kevin Millwood (Rockies), Arthur Rhodes (Cardinals), Omar Vizquel (White Sox), and Kerry Wood (Cubs) were also among the 148 players to file for free agency.