ANAHEIM -- The Angels have exercised a $3 million buyout on Garret Anderson's contract, making him a free agent, while exercising their options to bring back Vladimir Guerrero and John Lackey for the 2009 season.
The club holds an exclusive 15-day window to negotiate a new deal with Anderson, the franchise leader in games, runs scored, hits, doubles, total bases and RBIs.
If they had exercised their option to retain Anderson, it would have cost the Angels $14 million. It is believed they'll try to bring him back for a less substantial salary coming off another strong season. The 36-year-old left fielder hit .293 with 15 homers and 84 RBIs, which were second on the club to Guerrero's 91 RBIs. His 587 plate appearances were his most since 2005.
Guerrero will make $15.5 million in 2009, while Lackey draws $7.3 million.
Guerrero, like Anderson, finished strong to become the second player in history with 11 consecutive seasons of batting at least .300 with 25 or more home runs. Only the immortal Lou Gehrig had done that. Guerrero delivered 27 homers while batting .303, hitting .330 in the second half while Anderson was batting .335.
Lackey, after missing the first six weeks with a strained triceps, put together a 12-5 record with a 3.75 ERA -- inflated from 3.25 when he yielded 10 earned runs in 2 2/3 innings in his final regular-season start.
Lackey came through with two quality efforts in the American League Division Series against the Red Sox, registering a 2.63 ERA with a total of 13 2/3 innings in Games 1 and 4. But the Angels lost both times with Jon Lester shutting down their offense.
Guerrero hit .467 in the ALDS with four walks. Anderson hit .158 (3-for-19) in the series.
Guerrero, 32, had surgery on the medial meniscus in his left knee on Oct. 10 at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo. The surgery was performed by Dr. Richard Steadman.
Hoping to return to regular duty in right field after appearing in 44 games (and all four postseason games) as the designated hitter, Guerrero is expected to be ready for Spring Training.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.