Colon, Six Others Opt For Free Agency

To no one's surprise, Bartolo Colon rejected the Sox' three-year deal Monday, instead opting for free agency. Although Colon's agent did not rule out a return to the Sox, GM Ken Williams has yet to return phone calls made from Colon's agent, making it appear that the right hander's career on the South Side is all but over.

Althought Williams wouldn't discuss the specifics, he said the three-year deal for Colon was the largest contract ever offered to a Sox pitcher. The Chicago Tribune reported the deal was in the neighborhood of $36 million.

With the Sox last season Colon finished up 15-13 with a 3.87 ERA in 34 starts. He struck 173 in 242 innings pitched.

Among the others filing for free agency were catcher Sandy Alomar, outfielder Carl Everett, right-handed setup-men Tom Gordon and Scott Sullivan, and infielder Tony Graffanino.

Alomar hit .268 with 5 HR and 26 RBI in 75 games last season with the Sox while Graffanino batted .260 with 7 HR and 23 RBI in 90 games.

Meanwhile Gordon was the team's save leader with 12 saves, and a 7-6 record with a 3.12 ERA in 66 appearances. Sullivan was traded from the Cincinnati Reds midway through the season and posted a 3.77 ERA in 15 games.

Shortstop Jose Valentin filed provisionally, pending a club decision on their 2004 option.

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