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 Hot Stove: Iguchi to test free agency

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PostSubject: Hot Stove: Iguchi to test free agency   Sat Nov 17, 2007 1:03 pm

Hot Stove: Iguchi to test free agency
Second baseman to try his options after release from Phils
By Jim Molony / MLB.com

No sooner did Tadahito Iguchi hit the free-agent market than several teams were already expressing interest in the veteran second baseman.

Philadelphia officially released Iguchi, who batted .301 while filling in for the injured Chase Utley last season, on Thursday. But a contractual stipulation that required the Phillies to release Iguchi without offering salary arbitration -- meaning the Phillies won't get draft pick compensation as they would have -- meant Iguchi would go on the market as a free agent.

Iguchi's agent, Rocky Hall, confirmed to MLB.com that five teams -- the Angels, Astros, Brewers, Padres and Rockies -- have expressed an interest in talking with his client, though Iguchi cannot begin negotiations with new teams until Monday at 9 a.m. ET.

"His contract contains a clause that gives him the right to reject a waiver claim, so even though he has to clear waivers, teams understand he can't be claimed," said Hall, who is seeking a three-year deal for his client. "He's technically on waivers, but he can reject those as he is a free agent."

The Phillies approached Iguchi about playing third base, but the player told the Phillies he'd prefer to stay at second.

"He thinks he can get an everyday job playing second, and he and his agent are probably correct in that assumption," Phillies general manager Pat Gillick said. "His first priority is to seek out a job at second. If not, he'll think about third."

Iguchi, who signed a two-year, $4.95 million contract before the 2005 season that also included a $3.25 million option for 2007, will certainly draw interest on a market that is thin at the position. He turns 34 next month and is coming off a season during which he hit .304 with 12 RBIs and 13 extra-base hits in 45 games with the Phillies. He also batted .320 as a pinch-hitter with Philadelphia.

The Astros, who have offers pending to free-agent second basemen Kaz Matsui and Luis Castillo, contacted Hall on Friday. The Dodgers, if Jeff Kent moves on, could also take a hard look at Iguchi.

Those three, and Mark Loretta, top what is a thin free-agent crop at the position.

Two free-agent second basemen, Marlon Anderson and Damion Easley, already re-signed with the Mets. Craig Biggio retired. Not counting Minor League free agents, that leaves just four others: Geoff Blum, Miguel Cairo, Marcus Giles and Jose Valentin.


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PostSubject: Re: Hot Stove: Iguchi to test free agency   Sat Nov 17, 2007 1:51 pm

I'll take Polanco over Iguchi! Sucks for whoever tries to sign him...


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