Heyman Predicts ’09 Options

THURSDAY: Reader Christopher G. alerted me to the fact that Smoltz will be a free agent after this season.  According to this MLB.com article, he has a vesting option for ’09 based on pitching 200 innings in ’08.  Obviously Smoltz is unable to reach that total.

WEDNESDAY: SI.com’s Jon Heyman weighs in on 12 players with options for ’09, speculating on whether they will be exercised.  Most of the dozen are easy to predict, except for John Smoltz at $12MM and Brad Penny at $9.25MM with a $2MM buyout.  Heyman sees both of those being picked up.

You can browse all of the options in our 2009 MLB free agents list.  Some players that Heyman did not discuss:

  • Rod Barajas ($2.5MM option, $0.5MM buyout) – He was awful in July, but overall he’s had a solid offensive year.  They’ll exercise it.
  • Hank Blalock ($6.2MM option, $0.25MM buyout) – Another lost year for Blalock, who is not capable of playing third base currently.  He’s only 27, so figure the Rangers will try one more time to get value out of him.  Blalock was almost traded for Josh Beckett back in the day.
  • Cliff Floyd ($2.75MM option, $0.25MM buyout) – There’s been some retirement chatter, but I see both sides wanting one more year.
  • Wily Mo Pena ($5MM club option or $2MM player option) – The club will decline, but Pena should exercise accept his option.  He had shoulder surgery in July and hopes to be ready for spring training.
  • Brian Giles ($9MM option, $3MM buyout) – This seems like an easy call to exercise, but there have been rumblings that the Padres might decline due to payroll concerns.
  • Tim Wakefield (perpetual $4MM option) – Easy call to exercise once again.
  • Salomon Torres ($3.75MM option, $0.3MM buyout) – Torres’ surprising emergence as the Crew’s best relief acquisition means he stays.
  • Tom Gordon ($4.5MM option, $1MM buyout) – If Gordon needs Tommy John surgery, this will be declined and then he may retire.
  • Damaso Marte ($6MM option, $0.25MM buyout) – At one point I might’ve said the Yanks would exercise this, choosing to pay extra for the short commitment.  But now it looks like he’ll become a free agent.

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