HOUSTON (AP) -- Ken Caminiti's $5.5 million option was declined by the Houston Astros, who chose to give the 1996 National League MVP a $500,000 buyout.
Caminiti, who left the team last month to undergo evaluation for chemical dependency, missed the final 97 games of the season after rupturing a tendon sheath in his right wrist.
Caminiti hit .303 in 59 games this year with 15 homers and 45 RBIs and becomes eligible for free agency.
Houston did exercise a $1.8 million option for 2001 on the versatile Bill Spiers, a year that could have been bought out for $300,000.
Spiers hit .301 in 124 games last season, playing second base, shortstop, third base, left field and right field.
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