Sports

Former Mets Closer K-Rod Becomes Free Agent

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(credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

(credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — Francisco Rodriguez’s $17.5 million mutual option has been declined, and the Milwaukee Brewers reliever was among 148 players who become free agents Sunday.

K-Rod’s deal was reworked when he was traded from the New York Mets during the All-Star break, changing it from an option that would have become guaranteed had he finished 55 games. Rodriguez, used as a setup man by the Brewers, gets a $4 million buyout, up from the original $3.5 million.

In addition, the Brewers declined a $6 million club option on shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, who gets a $2 million buyout.

Others whose options were declined included Atlanta outfielder Nate McLouth; Colorado right-hander Aaron Cook; and the San Diego trio of right-handers Aaron Harang and Chad Qualls, and outfielder Brad Hawpe.

McLouth receives a $1.25 million buyout rather than a $10.65 million salary for next year under the contract he signed with Pittsburgh before the 2009 season.

Cook had an $11,125,000 option with a $500,000 buyout.

Harang declined his $5 million player option but does not get a $500,000 buyout because he fell 14 1-3 innings short of the 185 specified in his contract. San Diego declined a $6 million option on Qualls, who gets a $1.05 million buyout.

Hawpe gets a $1 million buyout rather than a $6 million salary.

In a deal that has not been announced, pitcher Javier Lopez agreed to an $8.5-million, two-year contract with the San Francisco Giants rather than become a free agent.

Clubs have until the end of Monday to decide single options, and free agents can start signing with teams Thursday.

This year’s free agents are headed by Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, C.J. Wilson, Edwin Jackson and Mark Buehrle.

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