Saturday was the first day that players could file for free agency and Toronto saw Ted Lilly, Justin Speier, and Frank Catalanotto do exactly that. This isn’t really big news — it’s just a formality. It’s a foregone conclusion that players who are eligible for free agency will file. Gregg Zaun and Bengie Molina — after Toronto officially buys out his contract for $500,000 — will be next to file from the Jays.
There are approximately 200 players who are eligible to become free agents who have until Nov. 11 to file. Then on Nov. 12, teams can start talking contracts with those players. Under the new labor agreement, players don’t face any deadlines for re-signing with their former clubs any more. Before the agreement, players had to re-sign by Dec. 7 — Jan. 8 if offered salary arbitration — or else they couldn’t re-sign with their former club until May 1. Those deadlines are no more.