Mike Schmidt and Cal Ripken Jr. agreed to multimillion-dollar, multi-year contracts Monday night, minutes before a midnight deadline to file for free agency.
Meanwhile, 18 other players became free agents, raising the total to 76.
Schmidt and the Philadelphia Phillies reached agreement on a two-year contract worth $4.5 million. Ripken and the Baltimore Orioles also settled after talking during the day about a two-year contract for about $1.7 million per year.
Juan Berenguer of the World Series champion Minnesota Twins, the Detroit Tigers' Frank Tanana and the Houston Astros' Jose Cruz were among those filing for free agency.
Last year, 79 players declared free agency but only Andre Dawson and Lance Parrish changed teams before the season started.
Also, pitchers Jeff Reardon of Minnesota and Greg Harris of the Texas Rangers and infielder Alfredo Griffin of the Oakland Athletics demanded trades. Midnight was the deadline for making that move, which, like declaring free agency, is often a negotiating tool.
Others declaring for free agency Monday were pitchers Tommy John of the New York Yankees, Joaquin Andujar of Oakland, Ed Lynch and Dickie Noles and infielder Manny Trillo of the Chicago Cubs; pitcher Mike LaCoss, outfielder Eddie Milner and utilityman Joel Youngblood of San Francisco; outfielder Ken Griffey and infielder Graig Nettles of Atlanta; utilityman Jamie Quirk of Kansas City; pitcher Mark Clear of Milwaukee; outfielder Ken Landreaux of the Dodgers; pitcher Moose Haas of Oakland, and pitcher Greg Minton of the Angels.
Cincinnati catcher Bo Diaz, infielder Ed Romero of Boston, Baltimore outfielder Jim Dwyer, infielder Mickey Hatcher of the Dodgers, pitchers Dave Schmidt of Baltimore and Jim Gott of Pittsburgh, each of whom was eligible for free agency, re-signed with their teams. First baseman Dan Driessen was released by St. Louis.
In addition, the New York Mets have exercised their option to keep pitcher Bob Ojeda. Pitchers Floyd Bannister and Richard Dotson of the Chicago White Sox and Steve Howe of Texas, who were also eligible for free agency, have agreed to new contracts.
Among those who were eligible but did not file for free agency were pitchers Dan Petry of Detroit, Bob Forsch of St. Louis and Steve Carlton of Minnesota, and Twins designated hitter Don Baylor.