Even during a down time for rumors, a ton of fun can be had analyzing the 2009 MLB Free Agents list. Below I present the seven most interesting 2009 options.
1. Manny Ramirez - $20MM club option. Rob Bradford recently discussed this, a topic that will pick up steam in Boston as the season rolls along. He notes that Andruw Jones was able to snag a deal averaging $18MM despite coming off a terrible 2007. Also, Manny seems to want to retire in a Boston uniform. $20MM is just the right amount to make this a tough decision (not clear on whether there's a buyout). If Manny hits 35+ home runs I think they'll exercise the option. Otherwise, Adam Dunn could be an alternative a year from now.
2. Ken Griffey Jr. - $16.5MM club option with a $4MM buyout. That's a net of a one-year, $12.5MM deal to keep Junior. I'm not positive but I don't think any of the '09 salary would be deferred. The price seems reasonable if Griffey can approximate his '07 season again, but otherwise the Reds will have to make the tough decision to cut him loose.
3. Carlos Delgado - $16MM mutual option with a $4MM buyout. This will be an easy decline for the Mets if Delgado posts another sub-.800 OPS. But what if he has a 2008 season more like his '07 second half - .285/.375/.469? Then is he worth one year and $12MM? This may depend on how Mark Teixeira's situation unfolds.
4. Garret Anderson - $14MM club option with a $3MM buyout. $11MM net doesn't seem terrible, and Anderson had a nice second half with an .892 OPS. However my best guess is a subpar season with little to no defense, leaving the Angels with no choice but to decline.
5. Mark Mulder - $11MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout. Given the market for pitching, will he be worth $9.5MM in 2009? Will the time and money spent watching him rehab influence John Mozeliak's decision?
6. Jason Giambi - $22MM club option with a $5MM buyout. The oddly hefty buyout at least gives you pause here. On the free market would anyone give one-year, $17MM to Giambi? Doubtful unless he bounces back to 2005-06 form and health. Most likely the Yanks will be happy to clear this money.
7. Jim Thome - $13MM club option with a $3MM buyout. $10MM for a 35 HR/.410 OBP middle of the lineup monster? Should be an easy one. But say Thome is only healthy enough for 110 games in '08. Do the Sox still go for it?
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