BALTIMORE (AP) _ The Baltimore Orioles released outfielder Brady Anderson on Friday, ending his 14-year tenure with the team.
Anderson, 37, had one year left on his $31 million, five-year contract. He is due to make $4 million next season.
He lost his role as the Orioles’ leadoff hitter last season. He batted only .202 with eight home runs and 45 RBIs.
Anderson’s struggles were symbolized when he struck out to end the Orioles’ season with retiring third baseman Cal Ripken Jr. on deck.
``This is a very difficult thing for us because there is no question that Brady has epitomized what being an Oriole is all about,″ said Syd Thrift, the team’s vice president of baseball operations. ``He has given us 100 percent every day. We just felt the direction we were going in did not guarantee a position for Brady on next year’s team, and to bring him back to compete for a spot would be unfair to him.″
Anderson set a franchise record with 50 home runs in 1996. He is the only player in major league history to have a 50-homer season and a season with 50 stolen bases.
Anderson’s production waned in recent years as he battled injuries.
Thrift said this week the Orioles would release Anderson if they could not trade him before submitting their 40-man roster on Tuesday.
Anderson was the Orioles’ only remaining player with enough service time _ at least five years with the same team and 10 years in the majors _ to have trade veto power over a trade.
The departure is part of an ongoing renovation for the Orioles, who saw Albert Belle also retire along with Ripken this past season.
The likely exit of free-agent reliever Alan Mills would leave the Orioles with only two ties to their 1997 AL East championship team _ shortstop Mike Bordick and starting pitcher Scott Erickson, both of whom ended last season on the 60-day disabled list.