Looper, Vargas formally file for free agency

Braden Looper wasted no time in formally filing for free agency, and fellow Brewers right-hander Claudio Vargas was right behind him. 

Both veterans formally filed their paperwork on Friday, meaning all nine of the Brewers’ potential free agents at the start of the offseason are officially on the open market. Outfielders Mike Cameron, Frank Catalanotto and Corey Patterson, infielders Craig Counsell and Felipe Lopez, catcher Jason Kendall and reliever David Weathers all filed previously. 

Earlier Friday, the Brewers declined their half of Looper’s $6.5 million mutual option, choosing instead to pay a $1 million buyout and free $5.5 million more in payroll flexibility. General manager Doug Melvin left open the possibility of re-opening negotiations with Looper at a later date. 

Melvin may also have interested in bringing back Vargas, who was acquired in a July 31 trade with the Dodgers for Double-A catcher Vinny Rottino. Vargas boosted his stock in a late-relief role with the Brewers, appearing in 28 games with a 1.78 ERA. 

Teams have exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents for 15 days following the World Series. That window closes Nov. 19.

When Looper and Vargas filed for free agency, the Brewers were left with 33 players on their 40-man roster.

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