Penny takes option of free agency

His option: Penny files for free agency

LOS ANGELES -- Starting pitcher Brad Penny, bought out of his option by the Dodgers on Wednesday, filed for free agency Thursday.

Penny became the Dodgers' 13th free agent, joining Manny Ramirez, Derek Lowe, Rafael Furcal, Casey Blake, Nomar Garciaparra, Jeff Kent, Greg Maddux, Joe Beimel, Chan Ho Park, Mark Sweeney, Gary Bennett and Jason Johnson. The Dodgers' only remaining eligible free agent yet to file is infielder Pablo Ozuna.

Penny, who spent three stints on the disabled list this past year with shoulder problems, signed a three-year, $25 million contract extension during the 2005 season with a 2009 option. The Dodgers chose to buy out the $9.25 million salary option for $2 million.

An All-Star in 2006-07, Penny went 6-9 with a 6.27 ERA in 2008, winning only one game after May 2. A 16-game winner each of his two All-Star seasons, Penny has been working out in Los Angeles and is expected to have no shortage of interested clubs.

The Dodgers have already made an offer to Ramirez and discussed interest with Furcal and Blake. But if all 14 free agents leave, it would free $63.5 million in salary from the $120 million payroll for 2008.

Hot Stove

The Dodgers currently have $61.1 million committed in 2009 salary for Andruw Jones, Jason Schmidt, Hiroki Kuroda, Juan Pierre and the buyouts of Penny and Gary Bennett. The Dodgers also have eight players eligible for salary arbitration -- Takashi Saito, Russell Martin, Andre Ethier, Scott Proctor, Jason Repko, Yhency Brazoban, Jonathan Broxton and Angel Berroa.

It's not clear if Saito will return for a fourth season at age 39 coming off a serious elbow injury, but Martin and Ethier are in line for significant raises.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.