Woodward hits free agent trail
Versatile utility infielder unable to strengthen Braves' bench
ATLANTA -- Chris Woodward began his search for a new employer when he filed for free agency on Tuesday. The veteran utility infielder spent the past season with the Braves, who aren't expected to bring him back for the 2008 season.
When the Braves signed Woodward in December, they hoped he'd strengthen their bench. But in 136 at-bats, he hit just .199 with one homer and a .252 on-base percentage. He appeared in 92 games and made appearances at each of the four infield positions.
During his nine seasons in the Majors, Woodward has compiled a .243 batting average. His finest season came with the Blue Jays in 2003, when he appeared in a career-high 104 games and hit .276 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs.
Andruw Jones and Tanyon Sturtze are the only eligible Braves players who haven't filed for free agency yet. Both are expected to do so in the coming days. Ron Mahay and Julio Franco filed on Monday.
The Braves are expected to decline Octavio Dotel's $5.5 million option for the 2008 season. Once they do, the right-handed reliever will have the opportunity to throw his hat into the free agent ring.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.