Option Predictions: Starting Pitchers

Yesterday I made predictions for the 20 position players with contractual options on the horizon.  Today, it's time to tackle the 10 potential free agent starting pitchers with options this offseason.

  • Chris Carpenter, Cardinals: $15MM club option with a $1MM buyout.  There's a good case to be made that Carpenter is worth the $14MM net price of this option on a one-year deal.  He might have value to other teams at that price, but given his 10-and-5 rights I can't see the Cardinals exercising the option and then trading Carpenter.  The righty turns 37 in April, but I think the Cards could hammer out a two-year deal at a lower salary.  If they can't pull that off by early November or don't want to commit due to uncertainty around Albert Pujols and Lance Berkman, then I think the option will be declined.
  • Adam Wainwright, Cardinals: $10MM club option for '12, $12MM for '13.  These options must be decided at the same time, and no one expects Wainwright's February Tommy John surgery to prevent the Cardinals from exercising.
  • Aaron Cook, Rockies: $11MM mutual option with a $500K buyout.  The Rockies will certainly decline their side.
  • Ryan Dempster, Cubs: $14MM player option, no buyout.  The ball is in Dempster's court, and I think he'll exercise assuming a lower salary multiyear deal isn't agreed to first.
  • Zach Duke, Diamondbacks: $5.5MM club option with a $750K buyout.  With Duke moved to the bullpen in July, this will be declined.
  • Jon Garland, Dodgers: $8MM club option with a $500K buyout.  Shoulder surgery officially ended Garland's season in July, and this will be declined.
  • Aaron Harang, Padres: $5MM mutual option with a $500K buyout.  Harang certainly wants to stay in San Diego, and I'm leaning toward this being one of the rare mutual options that is exercised by both sides.
  • Paul Maholm, Pirates: $9.75MM club option with a $750K buyout.  Maholm's season ended in August with a shoulder strain.  The lefty posted a 3.66 ERA and 4.07 SIERA.  Interest appears mutual in an extension, but even if the shoulder issue is minor I see the Pirates declining this option.
  • Roy Oswalt, Phillies: $16MM mutual option with a $2MM buyout.  A condition of Oswalt's July 2010 trade to the Phillies was that his buyout would not be reduced whether it was the pitcher or the team declining.  Oswalt missed over a month with a back injury this year, and his numbers have been down.  Only Oswalt knows whether and where he'd prefer to pitch next year, but in November I think the Phillies will decline the option.  
  • C.C. Sabathia, Yankees: may opt out of remaining four years, $92MM.  There appears to be little doubt Sabathia will opt out.  The Yankees are still viewed as the favorite to sign him, but we don't know how much work needs to be done to find common ground.


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23 Responses to Option Predictions: Starting Pitchers Leave a Reply

  1. East Coast Bias 4 years ago

    Carp’s option being declined would work out very well…

    …for us.

    • daveineg 4 years ago

      Carpenter’s showed significant regression since his outstanding 09 season.  It’s hard to see him reversing that at age 37.  Maybe 5 years ago it was justifiable paying $14 million to a guy with an ERA around 4.  But not now.

      • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

        But… but… look at who our alternative is:

        AJ Burnett

        • daveineg 4 years ago

          I honestly don’t see Carpenter as an upgrade over Burnett.  Moving from NL to AL won’t help his numbers.  Opponents are hitting .275 against Carpenter this year and that includes pitchers.

          • Jeffy25 4 years ago

            He easily is, he has improved in 2011 vs 2010. Look at his perhips. I’m on my phone, but I know his fwar, fip, xfip, have all improved. He has a worse babip, despite not pitching any worse (gb and ld %). And his velocity is up. Carpenter has improved, not declined. And he is easily worth more than the 14 million net

        • yeah…look at the yankees options for the playoffs…..i see alot of cars driving off the verrazano when the postseason starts

      • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

        “Carpenter’s showed significant regression since his outstanding 09 season.”

        2009 – 3.34 xFIP, 3.43 SIERA, 19.2 K%, 5.1 BB%, 0.33 HR/9, .269 BABIP
        2011 – 3.37 xFIP, 3.43 SIERA, 18.8 K%, 5.7 BB%, 0.64 HR/9, .324 BABIP

        • Ferrariman 4 years ago

          watching his games, he’s actually throwing harder on his fastball and his curveball still has the same bite it always has.  I honestly couldn’t figure it out until i realized he had  Theriot, Berkman, Schumaker playing behind him.  Lots of free base hits that should be outs there..

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            few more home runs this year too, to be fair. but i don’t see anything that suggests his skills are fading

  2. Jeffy25 4 years ago

    Wainwrights options have already been exercised according to a team press release last month

  3. buddaley 4 years ago

    Is there a reason you did not speculate on James Shields? The Rays have an option to keep him at $7 million with a $2 million buyout.

    • I have to work up another post for guys like Shields, Carmona, Colby Lewis, who would be arb eligible if their options were declined.

      • dude, i would not exersize any option for carmona….give my 3 year old son the 7 mill.he can be like carmona and get rocked in the first inning

  4. rayking 4 years ago

    I was sure that Carp’s option would be exercised. But then we acquired EJax… perhaps the money we would have spent on Carp we could use on EJax instead?

    I suppose it would depend on how much Jackson wants, both in years and $$$, but he’s performed well, aside from an outing against the Brewers where TLR used him as the sacrificial lamb to save the pen.

    • That’s also what I assumed when Jackson was acquired…

      That Carp’s money would go to a younger pitcher who is pitching better than Carp himself. 

      Loyalty aside, it looks like the smart choice on paper.

      • nictonjr 4 years ago

        Giving Jackson 4 year, or more, $11+ mil a year, contract looks like a better choice?  If they sign Jackson the Cards can’t risk Carpenter accepting arbitration.  They’d let him walk away for nothing…

        • but its a wise move seeing as how jackson is way younger and still hasen’t hit his potential yet…..give jax a couple years with duncan…..i see him being a very nasty pitcher…..it was a good deal for st.louis to get rid of rasmus plus get jax and bullpen help….great deal for them…

      • Jeffy25 4 years ago

        Jackson is not pitching better than carp

        • Numbers would say that Jackson is indeed pitching better than Carp this year. Except for the egg he laid in Milwaukee, he’s been quite good since coming to the NL.

          Even if they do sign Jackson for $12m/year…a savings of $2m would help the Cardinals a lot. Especially if they re-sign Pujols for A-Rod money. They are going to need every last nickle!

          Wasn’t saying I agree with dumping Carp, and re-signing Jackson. Just that I could see the thinking in that scenario.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            which “numbers” would say that? ERA? wins? those fortunate cookie luckies?

  5. Phillies_Aces35 4 years ago

    I think that The Phillies decline Oswalt’s option and he comes back at a discounted salary (somewhere between $6million + Incentives-$9million). There’s the issue of money but there’s a good chance they’re going over the luxury tax anyway with Rollins, Hamels, and Madson. The Phillies have come out recently and said that they will go over the luxury tax.

    Sign Oswalt, move Blanton to the bullpen or eat his contract, and go into the season with Oswalt and Worley at the back end of the rotation. Then, the next season they could just replaced Oswalt with Trevor May.

    Roy said he wants to play next year (or is strongly considering it) on Daily News Live.

    • I know he just turned 34, but since 2004, Oz has had one year of less than 180 innings pitched, and this is the year.  He has been a workhorse over his career, and if healthy, is a bargain even at a net $14M in salary.  Considering that Halladay is making $20M, and Lee makes even more, and both are the same age, I’m just not seeing how $14M in 2012 is such a gamble that the Phillies should run, not walk, away from that on a one-year basis.  Now, the option is mutual, so if Oz declines, all bets are off. 

      Bottom line, I would rather give Roy Oswalt $16M for one year, over making Ryan Madson a tremendous prioritiy to sign to the multi-year deal he and Boras will be looking for.  Madson should be elsewhere next year, Rube just got done coughing up $36M over the past three years to watch Brad Lidge blow World Series games, and tour our farm system.   I hope he does not have the stomach to gamble more big money on a bullpen guy.

  6. san diego is cheap bro…they aint giving harang 7 mil a year….aint happining

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