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Marlins: Ohman, Tracy and Sosa File for Free Agency

           Let the hot stove league chatter begin. Moments after the San Francisco Giants wrapped up the title in what was a decidedly humdrum World Series, the Major League Baseball Players Association hit the send button at 11:17 p.m. on the list of 142 players declaring free agency.

           Taking that perfunctory first step were three Marlins: left-handed reliever Will Ohman, corner infielder Chad Tracy and right-hander Jorge Sosa. The Marlins are in need of lefty bullpen help and could be prowling for a lefty bat off the bench, so there is potential interest in Ohman and Tracy.

           Ohman certainly fits the bill of a dependable lefty the Marlins lacked throughout most of last season, and was effective when he took the ball for them (17 appearances, 3.00 ERA, and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.8 over 12 innings). Then again, Ohman -- like Nick Johnson the year before -- missed a chunk of time due to injury after joining the Marlins in a trade-deadline deal. With strong competition looming for lefty bullpen help (the Yankees, for example, have already targeted that area as one of need), Ohman could be out of the Marlins' limited financial reach.

            Tracy might be a more realistic option. though he was far more productive as a starter, hitting .280 in 118 at bats with the Cubs and Marlins when his name was in the lineup, than he was off the bench. He went 1 for 24 as a pinch-hitter. Rookie outfielder Scott Cousins might make for a more attractive option for the Marlins in that bench role.

            Under new guidelines, the exclusive negotiating period teams have with their own free agents has been shortened to five days.