Rockies' Fuentes files for free agency

Fuentes files for free agency

DENVER -- Left-handed relief pitcher Brian Fuentes, who earned three All-Star Game invitations in a Rockies uniform and owns the club's career saves record, filed for free agency on Saturday, as expected.

Fuentes lost the closer job to Manuel Corpas in 2007 but regained it in 2008 and by season's end was as effective as he had ever been in purple pinstripes. Fuentes, 33, earned 30 saves and struck out 82 against 22 walks.

The Rockies won an arbitration case against Fuentes and paid him $5.05 million before the 2008 season, and shortly thereafter signed Corpas to a multiyear deal as an indication that the club was prepared to let Fuentes go.

But toward the end of the season, club officials said they would try to see if they could make an offer large enough to keep him. According to various media reports, the high-paying Mets have emerged as one of the clubs that has prime interest in Fuentes, and the industry belief is upper-division clubs starved for a closer could drive the bidding above what the Rockies could offer.

If the Rockies lose Fuentes, they'll return to Corpas, who had four saves and eight blown saves but rebounded enough to pitch solidly more often than not.

Other Rockies who have filed are outfielder Scott Podsednik, who hit .253 with a home run and 15 RBIs in a reserve role; righty reliever Matt Herges, whose option wasn't picked up after he went 3-4 with a 5.04 ERA; right-hander Livan Hernandez, who went 3-3 with an 8.03 ERA in eight starts after the Rockies acquired him off waivers from the Twins; and catcher Adam Melhuse, who made seven late-season appearances for the Rockies.

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