Rockies’ Weiss To Become Free Agent
NEW YORK (AP) _ Colorado Rockies Walt Weiss declined to exercise his $1.5 million option for 1998 on Monday in the final move made by players eligible for free agency.
Weiss had conditionally filed for free agency on Oct. 27 and had until Monday to decide whether he would withdraw and exercise the option. He hit .270 last season with four homers and 38 RBIs.
In all, 138 players filed for free agency. The only eligible player who didn’t file was Anaheim outfielder Tony Phillips. Since the Angels already have said they won’t offer him a contract for next season, Anaheim will be forced to place Phillips on unconditional release waivers or attempt to assign him outright to the minors.
By not filing for free agency, Phillips cost the Angels two draft picks _ one from the team that signs him and one between the first and second rounds of next summer’s amateur draft.
Phillips, who hit .275 with eight homers and 57 RBIs, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor cocaine possession following an Aug. 10 arrest at an Anaheim motel. Anaheim attempted to suspend him but was reversed by an arbitration panel.
Free agents can start negotiating with any team Tuesday. They may sign at any time and do not count against a team’s protected list for next week’s expansion draft.
Teams must submit their 15-man prohibited list for the draft by 2 p.m. EST Tuesday. No trades may be made between then and the draft on Nov. 18.