One year ago, MLBTR's Mike Axisa asked whether mutual options were baseball's new fad, after at least a dozen were included in contracts during the 2009-10 offseason. As Mike explained, mutual options are almost never picked up by both sides. Instead, they're one way of pushing dollars onto next year's payroll, a more basic version of deferred money. The team can also avoid the buyout altogether when the player declines, in many cases. Here's a look at the eleven contracts from this offseason that included mutual options:
- Diamondbacks: Stephen Drew, Henry Blanco, Willie Bloomquist
- Nationals: Adam LaRoche, Sean Burnett
- Padres: Aaron Harang, Brad Hawpe
- Cardinals: Jake Westbrook.
- Astros: Bill Hall
- Rockies: Rafael Betancourt
- Royals: Jeff Francoeur
Francoeur's buyout is unknown, but otherwise overall the buyouts accounted for 8.7% of the total guaranteed money. At most, a mutual option is a way of pushing a million bucks onto next year's payroll to create flexibility this year.