Reliever Mark Davis, whose 44 saves for the San Diego Padres last season led the major leagues, has filed for free agency, the pitcher's agent said.
Alan Hendricks, Davis' agent, said he sent a telex to the Major League Players Assn. office in New York after closing hours Monday to inform the association of Davis' intentions.
"The news will become official today," Hendricks said.
The association announced Monday that 18 players filed for free agency on the first eligible date, including Padres outfielder Carmelo Martinez. Davis' name was not included in the first group because the notification arrived late.
Under the basic agreement, Davis and Hendricks are restricted to negotiating with the Padres until the 15-day free agent filing period expires Nov. 13.
But Davis' agent can talk to other clubs during that time as long as they do not discuss monetary terms.
Davis, 29, is bargaining from a position of strength. He won the Rolaids Relief Pitcher of the Year award with the second-highest save total ever by a National League pitcher. Bruce Sutter recorded 45 in 1984 for the St. Louis Cardinals.
"There's no question we wouldn't have gotten nearly as far as we did without him, and as manager I wouldn't want to be without him," Padres manager Jack McKeon said of Davis. San Diego finished second in the NL West, three games behind the San Francisco Giants.
Davis reportedly is seeking a contract that would pay him at least $7 million over the next three years.