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LaRoche leads four Braves into free agency


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By Mark Bowman / MLB.com

11/05/09 9:04 PM EST

ATLANTA -- When the regular season concluded, first baseman Adam LaRoche and left-handed reliever Mike Gonzalez were hopeful that they'd have the opportunity to return to the Braves. But at the same time, both understood that they would first set their respective costs courtesy of the demand that they find on the free-agent market.

LaRoche, Gonzalez, veteran outfielder Garret Anderson and utility man Greg Norton were the only Braves that filed for free agency on Thursday, when all eligible Major Leaguers had their first opportunity to do so.

Right-handed Rafael Soriano, who is the only other Atlanta player eligible for free agency, is expected to file within the next few days.

Gonzalez and Soriano, who are both expected to draw respectable demand from clubs looking for a closer, are both classified as Type A free agents. Via these rankings compiled by the Elias Sports Bureau, LaRoche and Anderson were classified as Type B free agents.

If a Type A free agent signs elsewhere before Dec. 1, or declines an arbitration offer from their former club, the former club is eligible to receive a first-round Draft pick and a sandwich selection between the first and second rounds.

In the event that the signing club has one of the Draft's first 15 selections, the former club would receive the sandwich selection and a second-round selection.

If a Type B free agent signs elsewhere before Dec. 1 or declines an arbitration offer from their former club, the former club receives a sandwich selection between the first two rounds.

LaRoche enhanced his value by hitting .325 with 12 homers in the 57 games played after being acquired by the Braves on July 31 and is expected to be one of the top available first baseman on the free-agent market.

The Braves are expected to make an attempt to re-sign either Gonzalez or Soriano. But knowing there is a strong possibility that both could sign elsewhere, they have already started searching for other options to utilize as their closer.

At the conclusion of the regular season, Norton indicated that he may opt to retire. Anderson is expected to sign with an American League club.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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I just wonder if we cant adequately replace LaRoche if Hudson's $$ would have been better served resigning Adam. I love Hudson but starting pitching is not a weakness (note I didn't say not a need so please dont respond saying you cant have too much starting pitching). You can have too much starting pitching if Scott Thurman and Casey Kotchman are your 1st baseman and you cant score any runs.

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AJC also did a write up on this.

I believe we will let Soriano walk due to his salary. That 6 mil can be spent elsewhere. Mike may be looked at with Arb. I also would like to look at the other options out there before any drastic changes are made. I would like to know the money Wagner would want if priced right he could be an option now that he seems to be healthy again.

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