HOUSTON -- As a matter of procedure, Jeff Bagwell filed for free agency on Saturday, hours before the deadline for Major League players to do so.

This does not mean Bagwell's status has changed since the Astros decided not to pick up the option on his contract on Halloween. He is not expected to play again, and a retirement announcement will likely come in the very near future. He and the Astros are in the process of agreeing upon a personal-services contract that will keep the former first baseman in the organization in some capacity.

Bagwell would have preferred not to file for free agency, but the Players Association encourages all pending free agents to do so, as a formality.

"This is entirely a procedural matter," said Barry Axelrod, Bagwell's agent. "Today is the last day for free agents to file, and even players contemplating retirement complete the filing process. This is completely a technical matter and does not change anything about the relationship between Jeff and the Astros.

"Our hope is that sometime in the near future, we will arrive at a long-term arrangement that will keep Jeff a part of the Astros family for many years."