2011 Contract Issues Rumors

2011 Contract Issues: San Francisco Giants

The Giants face one contract option after the season.  Shortstop Edgar Renteria has a $10.5MM club option with a $500K buyout.  Even with a bounceback year, the Giants figure to decline.  The Giants could re-sign Renteria at a lower price, or look at other free agents.

Plenty of the team's patchwork free agent signings will be eligible again: Bengie Molina, Juan Uribe, Aubrey Huff, Todd Wellemeyer, and Guillermo Mota.  The group is earning $12.5MM in 2010. 

Increases to players under contract total about $10MM, for Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Brian WilsonJonathan Sanchez is the key arbitration-eligible player; it'll be his second time.

The Giants increased payroll by almost $14MM this year.  They'd have $8-9MM to play with holding payroll steady, so maybe a smaller increase is in order for 2011.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

2011 Contract Issues: Los Angeles Dodgers

The Dodgers are paying over $15MM to former players this year; that number will fall under $7MM in 2011 as their commitments will be reduced to Juan Pierre and Andruw Jones.  They'll also potentially free up over $40MM for departing free agents, with Manny Ramirez, Hiroki Kuroda, and Vicente Padilla the biggest salaries.

On the increase side, players under contract will receive over $13MM more.  Andre Ethier, Rafael Furcal, Jonathan Broxton, and Matt Kemp account for the raises.  More increases will be due to arbitration-eligibles: Chad Billingsley, James Loney, and Hong-Chih Kuo enter their second year, Russell Martin his third, and George Sherrill his fourth.  Sherrill can be considered a non-tender candidate, only because the Dodgers may be reluctant to pay a setup man more than $5MM.

Even if payroll is maintained in the low $100MM range, the Dodgers should free up enough money to adequately replace Ramirez and at least one of the starting pitchers.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

2011 Contract Issues: Arizona Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks face a pair of option decisions after the season:

  • First baseman Adam LaRoche has a $7.5MM mutual option with a $1.5MM buyout.  It's pretty rare to see both sides pick up a mutual option.
  • Reliever Bob Howry has a $3MM club option with a $250K buyout.

Aside from LaRoche and Howry, the D'Backs' impending free agents are Brandon Webb, Chad Qualls, Aaron Heilman, and Rodrigo Lopez.  The group is earning about $15.5MM in 2010.  The Diamondbacks are also paying Eric Byrnes $10.6MM this year.

The D'Backs must prepare for a sizeable increase to players under contract – just under $20MM total.  Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, Mark Reynolds, and Justin Upton all get bumps in the $4MM range.

More increases will come from arbitration-eligible players.  Stephen Drew, Miguel Montero, and Blaine Boyer are second-year guys, with Conor Jackson and Kelly Johnson entering their third year.  Augie Ojeda could be a fourth-year player. 

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the information.

2011 Contract Issues: Chicago Cubs

The Cubs have one option situation due after the season, and it's a crucial one.  Third baseman Aramis Ramirez faces a $14.6MM player option, which he'll think about after the season.  Ramirez also has a $16MM mutual option for 2012, which can vest if Ramirez wins the LCS or regular MVP award this year or next or makes the All-Star team both years.  Though he might not be able to get a $15MM salary on the open market, he could find more than one guaranteed year.  I expect history to repeat itself – Ramirez will opt out but eventually agree to an extension to stay with the Cubs.

The Cubs also have a pair of important free agents: Derrek Lee and Ted Lilly.  Both players want to stay, but it sounds like discussions will occur after the season.  The question might be more on the Cubs' side - GM Jim Hendry has a history of retaining his own free agents if he wants them back.  New Cubs Xavier Nady and Chad Tracy signed one-year deals, so they'll be eligible as well.  Ramirez, Lee, and Lilly will earn about $41MM in 2010. 

Increases to players under contract will total $6.1MM for 2011, topped by Marlon Byrd's $2.5MM bump.  On the flip side, the Cubs will pay Carlos Silva $6MM in 2011 as opposed to the $12MM they would've paid Milton BradleyGeovany Soto will get a raise as a first-year arbitration player, while the Cubs' second-year group includes Ryan Theriot, Carlos Marmol, Mike Fontenot, Jeff Baker, Sean Marshall, Angel Guzman, Tom Gorzelanny, and Koyie Hill

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

2011 Contract Issues: St. Louis Cardinals

The Cardinals have a pair of contract options due after the season:

  • Albert Pujols has a $16MM club option with a $5MM buyout.  This will easily be exercised, but the real story will be the progress of extension talks.
  • Lefty reliever Trever Miller has one of nine vesting options to follow this season.  His $2MM becomes guaranteed with 45 games in 2010, a plateau that has not been a problem anytime recently.  DL time due to a left arm or shoulder injury would cause this to become a club option.

The Cards will have four key free agents: Brad Penny, Dennys Reyes, Felipe Lopez, and Jason LaRue.  They're guaranteed a total of $11.45MM in 2010.

Raises to players under contract total $7.05MM, with Kyle Lohse, Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina, Skip Schumaker, and Chris Carpenter getting bumps.

The arbitration group is light.  Kyle McClellan, Brendan Ryan, and Jaime Garcia are projected first-timers, while Ryan Ludwick is due for his third time.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

2010 Contract Issues: Milwaukee Brewers

The Brewers' option situations after the season:

  • Jeff Suppan has a $12.75MM club option with a $2MM buyout.  This is a lock to be declined.
  • Trevor Hoffman has a $7MM mutual option with a $500K buyout, though both numbers increase based on games finished.  This might be a rare case where both sides exercise a mutual option.
  • David Riske has a $4.75MM club option with a $250K buyout.  He's still recovering from Tommy John surgery; this will be declined.
  • Doug Davis has a $6.5MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout.
  • Gregg Zaun faces a $2.25MM club option with a $250K buyout; this could be exercised.

Eligible for free agency: Dave Bush, Craig Counsell, Jody Gerut, Claudio Vargas, and Jim Edmonds.  That's about $10MM more freed up, plus Bill Hall's $7.15MM and a couple of buyouts will be off the books.  Increases to players under contract total $7MM.  That's not bad, considering Ryan Braun and Yovani Gallardo will enter what would've been their first arbitration years.

Manny Parra and Joe Inglett project to be eligible for arbitration for the first time.  Carlos Gomez and Carlos Villanueva are second-year guys.  The big names are third-year arbitration players: Prince Fielder, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, and Todd Coffey.  Hart stands a good chance of being non-tendered, while Fielder could approach $20MM if he's not signed long-term.

2011 Contract Issues: Atlanta Braves

A look at the Braves' options after the season:

  • Closer Billy Wagner has a $6.5MM club option with a $250K buyout.  Wagner has looked nasty in the early going.
  • Infielder Omar Infante has a $2.5MM club option with a $250K buyout.  The Braves figure to exercise if Infante has a season like '08 and '09.

Troy Glaus, David Ross, Eric Hinske, and Takashi Saito are the Braves' eligible free agents; the group is guaranteed $7.55MM this year.  The Braves players on multiyear deals aren't in line for significant raises in 2011, with Brian McCann and Nate McLouth totaling a $3MM bump.

First-time arbitration players include Jair Jurrjens, Yunel Escobar, Martin Prado, and Eric O'Flaherty.  Jurrjens and Escobar are candidates to be locked up long-term, but Jurrjens is represented by Scott Boras.  Regardless of extensions, Jurrjens and Escobar will receive big raises.

Peter Moylan is a second-year arbitration player, while Melky Cabrera will be eligible for the third time.  Matt Diaz will enter the process for the fourth time.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

2011 Contract Issues: Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays will face three club options after the season:

  • Shortstop Alex Gonzalez has a $2.5MM option.  That's actually a bit less than he's earning this year, and the net price would be lower if there's a buyout involved.
  • Reliever Kevin Gregg has an odd contract, where the Blue Jays can exercise a $4.5MM option for 2011 or an $8.75MM option for 2011-12.  Both scenarios appear steep unless Gregg has a big year.
  • Backup catcher Jose Molina has a $1MM club option with a $200K buyout.

In Vernon Wells, Adam Lind, and Aaron Hill, the Blue Jays will pay an additional $16.1MM to players under contract.  Wells' $10.5MM bump leads the way.

Fortunately, the Jays have $31.65MM coming off the books as Lyle Overbay, Scott Downs, Jason Frasor, and John Buck will be up for free agency.  A few of the four will likely be dealt this summer.  Also to be cleared: $10MM owed to B.J. Ryan and $6MM to Roy Halladay

The Blue Jays have plenty of arbitration situations after the season, with non-tender candidates mixed in.  Brandon Morrow, Jesse Litsch, Dana Eveland, Jesse Carlson, and Merkin Valdez project as first-time arbitration players.  Shaun Marcum, Casey Janssen, and Dustin McGowan should be second-timers, while Edwin Encarnacion, Shawn Camp, and Jeremy Accardo will face arbitration for the third time.  The Blue Jays have a pair of fourth-year arbitration players in Jose Bautista and Brian Tallet.  There's a lot to sort through here, but no one seems likely to get a massive raise.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the information.

2011 Contract Issues: Oakland Athletics

Let's start with a look at the Athletics' 2011 options:

  • Eric Chavez has a $12.5MM club option with a $3MM buyout.  This appears highly unlikely to be exercised.
  • Mark Ellis has a $6MM club option with a $500K buyout.  Ellis missed a large chunk of last year with a calf strain and hasn't played a full season since '07.  Should he stay relatively healthy and maintain his top-notch defense, WAR might suggest Ellis will be worth the $5.5MM net price in 2011.  Still, the A's would have to weigh their many second base alternatives as well as Ellis' market value.
  • Coco Crisp has a $5.75MM club option with a $500K buyout.  The club option is the silver lining on a pretty risky signing. 

After 2010, the A's will be free of their $4MM obligation to Willy Taveras.  Veteran starters Ben Sheets and Justin Duchscherer will be eligible for free agency.

The Athletics' first-year arbitration players will include Kurt Suzuki, Ryan Sweeney, Dallas Braden, Craig Breslow, and Travis Buck.  A long-term deal for Suzuki may be in order.  The A's will also have Kevin Kouzmanoff, Rajai Davis, and Joey Devine due raises as second-year arbitration players.  Gabe Gross and Chad Gaudin are two more arbitration-eligible players, though they stand a chance of being non-tendered.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the information.

2011 Contract Issues: Houston Astros

The Astros have three 2011 options to consider after the season:

  • Lance Berkman has a $15MM club option with a $2MM buyout. Berkman has indicated he might move on if the option is declined; MLBTR's Luke Adams discussed the situation recently.  Berkman had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on March 13th and recently had it drained for a fifth time.
  • Brett Myers has an $8MM mutual option with a $2MM buyout.  As MLBTR's Mike Axisa noted a month ago, mutual options are baseball's new fad and typically don't serve as actual options.  It's highly likely that one of the sides will want to decline.
  • Geoff Blum also has a mutual option; at $1.65MM it's more plausible the two sides work something out.

The Astros also have Kaz Matsui, Pedro Feliz, Brian Moehler, and Jason Michaels up for free agency after the season.  The four are earning $13.3MM in 2010.

Felipe Paulino is projected to enter his first arbitration year.  Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, Matt Lindstrom, Jeff Keppinger, and Chris Sampson will face arbitration for the second time.  Wandy Rodriguez and Humberto Quintero will go for the third time, Tim Byrdak a fourth.  A few of these players might be non-tendered, though.  On the other hand, the Astros could consider locking up Pence, Bourn, or Rodriguez with big '10 seasons. 

Raises to under-contract players are insignificant, with Roy Oswalt and Brandon Lyon each getting a $1MM bump in 2011.

Thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.