Option Predictions: Position Players

20 position players face contractual options; the deadline is typically three days after the World Series.  About 14% of the regular season remains, but let's make some predictions.

  • Ryan Doumit, Pirates: $7.25MM club option for 2012, $8.25MM club option for '13 with a $500K buyout.  These options must be decided in tandem after this season, and despite Doumit's production when he's been healthy this year it's highly likely they'll be declined.
  • Chris Snyder, Pirates: $6.75MM club option with a $750K buyout.  Snyder has missed most of the season due to back surgery, so this will be declined.
  • Yadier Molina, Cardinals: $7MM club option with a $750K buyout.  This one is a lock to be exercised.  Before the 2012 season begins, the Cardinals will have to discuss Molina's next contract.
  • Kelly Shoppach, Rays: $3.2MM club option with a $300K buyout.  Shoppach has had a rough year, and this is likely to be declined.
  • Eric Hinske, Braves: $1.5MM club option with a $100K buyout.  Hinske has performed about as expected, so I think this will be exercised.
  • Willie Bloomquist, Diamondbacks: $1.1MM mutual option with a $150K buyout.  Rarely do we see both sides of a mutual option exercised, so I'll go with declined here.
  • Robinson Cano, Yankees: $14MM club option with a $2MM buyout.  This will surely be exercised, and his $15MM option for 2013 is looking good too.
  • Bill Hall, Giants: $4MM mutual option with a $250K buyout.  Not only is this option mutual, but it's kind of an automatic decline since Hall was released by the Astros and later designated for assignment by the Giants.
  • Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks: $8MM club option for 2012, $8MM club option for '13.  I don't think Hill's hot hitting with Arizona is enough to keep these from being declined.
  • Brandon Phillips, Reds: $12MM club option with a $1MM buyout.  It sounds like this option will be exercised if an extension can't be worked out, which Phillips would consider a "slap in my face."  Yes, a $12MM slap in the face.
  • Yuniesky Betancourt, Brewers: $6MM club option with a $2MM buyout.  This one is certain to be declined.
  • Ronny Cedeno, Pirates: $3MM club option with a $200K buyout.  I expect Cedeno's option to be declined, as the Pirates aim to upgrade at shortstop.
  • Rafael Furcal, Cardinals: $12MM club option with a $1.3MM buyout.  This is an easy choice to decline, though both sides have mutual interest in a new deal.
  • Marco Scutaro, Red Sox: $6MM club option/$3MM player option with a $1.5MM buyout.  This is a tough one.  I think the Red Sox will decline their side of it, and it's possible Scutaro can do a little better and will decline as well.
  • Casey Blake, Dodgers: $6MM club option with a $1.25MM buyout.  This will certainly be declined.
  • Edwin Encarnacion, Blue Jays: $3.5MM club option with a $500K buyout.  I agree with MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith; this will be exercised.
  • Aramis Ramirez, Cubs: $16MM mutual option.  If club declines, Ramirez receives a $2MM buyout.  If club exercises and Ramirez declines, he does not receive a buyout.  Ramirez has had a strong year, and there's a case for the Cubs to exercise their side since it keeps him on a one-year deal, the team has some money to spend, and the free agent market offers nothing else.  I think if the Cubs exercise at that slightly inflated price, Ramirez will not void, despite his desire for a multiyear deal.  Ultimately I think in November the club will decline though, and then the two sides will discuss a possible new contract.
  • Nate McLouth, Braves: $10.65MM club option with a $1.25MM buyout.  Certain to be declined.
  • Grady Sizemore, Indians: $8.5MM club option with a $500K buyout.  Sizemore's final month should be a big factor here, but I think this will be exercised.
  • Nick Swisher, Yankees: $10.25MM club option with a $1MM buyout.  This one is an easy choice to exercise.
  • I've got 13 position players option being declined, with seven being exercised.


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47 Responses to Option Predictions: Position Players Leave a Reply

  1. AmericanMovieFan 4 years ago

    ‘Surely Be Exercised’ is an understatement for Cano. The only way those options are declined is if the Yankees void the terms of his current deal and extend him to well beyond what the two options cover.

    Sizemore is the kind of player where he’s cheap if he’s healthy and expensive when he’s not so it’s kind of a Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t scenario.

    Swisher’s option is a lock, particularly given that it’s just a $1MM raise over his current salary, which is quite reasonable for his production, relative to players of comparable service time and numbers. I think Swisher is also an extension candidate simply because he’s undervalued and would come at a pretty steep discount, I imagine. I don’t think anybody would fathom giving him more than 3 years/$30MM on the open market anyway, even though I personally value him at as much as 4 years/$52MM.

    Brandon Phillips may not be worth $12MM for one year, but he could very well be worth $36MM over 4 years.

    Yadier Molina is probably in line for 5 year/$50MM extension.

    • gunsnascar 4 years ago

      thanks for the info…………….

      • AmericanMovieFan 4 years ago

        Just thinking out loud. That’s what these comment sections are for, aren’t they?

    • Five years for yadi is to much. 4/40 is good. Maybe a club option for fifth, like six million.

      • Lanidrac 4 years ago

        The Cardinals won’t replace the option year, though. They need him relatively cheap for another year to help pay Pujols.

  2. jeffdg 4 years ago

    If Brandon Phillips were declined, he would become a VERY popular Free Agent target for a number of teams (although, no Yankees/Red Sox to drive up the price). 

  3. notsureifsrs 4 years ago

    reyes’ injuries and swisher’s rebound have all but killed the jeter-to-RF scenarios tossed around earlier this year. even if they covet a jeter replacement at short, swisher’s option is too much of a bargain to pass up at this level of production

  4. 0bsessions 4 years ago

    Honestly, I’m thinking the Sox might exercise Scutaro’s option. The guy is pretty much down the middle average, which is decidedly valuable at the position with how barren the selection is. Considering we don’t have an obvious player to slot in at shortstop next year, he may be necessary. Iglesias probably needs another year and Lowrie’s continuing to justify his injury-prone label. When it comes down to it, I like Scutaro at shotstop better than I like Aviles and with no better option that’ll cost less than $100 million to sign, Scutaro’s really about our best bet short of Alex Gonzalez 3: Back Again.

    $6 million is a bit steep for Scutaro’s talent level, but considering the lack of options out there, I doubt we’re going to do better.

    • Jose Iglesias

      • start_wearing_purple
        start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

        I think they’ll keep him in AAA for another year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an Aviles/Lowrie tag team, possibly trying to bring back Scut cheap for a year.

      • 0bsessions 4 years ago

        I addressed him:

        “Iglesias probably needs another year”

        Iglesias is not ready for an MLB job yet.

      • nestorpistor 4 years ago

        He cant hit

      • crashcameron 4 years ago

        Enrique … !
        (apparently, Marc Anthony is also available)

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      scutaro’s a type B, so if they’re willing to have him back it again it may make more sense to do so through an arbitration case

      • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

        I’m pretty sure Scutaro would decline arbitration.  Given the $1.5MM payout on the failed option, all Scutaro needs to find on the F/A market to beat his own option side of the deal is about $2MM.  And to beat arbitration, all he would need to find is a deal worth at least $3.5MM.  I’m pretty sure that he can find that or more on the F/A market, playing relatively solid D and hitting up around .270.

        • I’m actually pretty sure he’ll accept. He’s working off a base salary of $5MM, so with the continued increase in service time and a decent slash line, he should get at least a small bump on that salary. Add in the buyout at $1.5MM and we’re looking at about 5+1.5+0.5 = $7MM salary assuming a very modest pay increase.

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            I’d agree with you if the only issue was money.  But the BoSox are going to have Lowrie competing for time at short, together with Iglesias, next season (yes, even if he continues to hit in the .220’s).  He can get similar money and more elite status/playing time elsewhere.  If the BoSox end up winning the WS this season, I can virtually guarantee he won’t accept arbitration.  There would be nothing left for him to stay for.  This is definitely not the place that Marco loves most.

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          “‘m pretty sure Scutaro would decline arbitration. ”

          there’d be nothing to cry about if he did. keeping him or losing him is not a big deal. so if you’re open to keeping him, you at least give your shot at a draft pick by going the arbitration route

      • 0bsessions 4 years ago

        A risky proposition.

        It could net us a draft pick, but were that to occur, we’re suddenly without a clear answer at shortstop next season. Like I said, $6 million is steep for him, but I’ve had enough of uncertainty at shortstop in the last decade and a Lowrie/Aviles combination is really questionable, especially with Aviles having cost us one of our better options on the SS depth chart. As it currently stands, our depth at short is garbage. If we let Scutaro walk, suddenly Iglesias is third on the depth chart behind a guy who’s at best a serviceable option (Though he’s never played a full season in his career) and a guy who has literally spent more time on the DL than on the 25 man roster since his MLB debut.

        I don’t like it, but I think the team’s best shot is picking up the option rather than run the risk of an Aviles/Lowrie tandem at shortstop.

        • MaineSox 4 years ago

          I actually think I disagree with you on this (and I don’t very often).  I think I would offer arbitration; if he takes it they have their shortstop for next year and if he doesn’t I would be OK with a Lowrie/Aviles tandem at SS plus a comp pick, but that’s just me.  Plus that way if by some miracle Iglesias shows that he can hit a little by mid-season it would be easier to slot him in at SS (you wouldn’t have a $6mil bench player).

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            xander bogaerts thinks jose iglesias is overrated

          • MaineSox 4 years ago

            Too bad most people don’t see Xander a SS in the future…  He may be right about Iglesias though.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            iglesias is both very good and very overrated. hopefully people will pay less attention to him after this year and he can relax and focus on development. can’t forget this was effectively his first full professional season

          • MaineSox 4 years ago

            Definitely, and it seems to me like they have been overly aggressive (even for Boston) with Iglesias’ placement.  Most guys, particularly international free agents from that part of the world, would likely be in AA at his age, even considering Boston preferring to be aggressive with their prospect placement.

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          there are three passable shortstops on the active roster in scutaro, lowrie, and aviles. scutaro is the best option overall, but not by a margin of any significance. if at all, his defense is not much better than aviles’. neither is his bat:

          scutaro’s last 1000 PA: .318 wOBA, 93 wRC+
          aviles last 700 PA: .320 wOBA, 97 wRC+

          both of them have had one very good offensive year in the last 4 seasons, but these are both slightly below league average offensive players overall right now. aviles is 6 years younger

          how much more of a gamble is aviles than scutaro? whatever it is, it’s hedged by lowrie’s presence. he’s the worst of the three defensively, but has the most offensive upside

          again, if it’s only lowrie or scutaro, the choice is clear. but when you have aviles and lowrie there, the calculus changes

          and if it were keep scutaro or lose him, i’d vote for keeping him. $6M isn’t too much money for that insurance. but it’s not keep or lose; it’s keep or lose-and-get-a-draft-pick-while-still-having-aviles-lowrie-and-a-top-SS-prospect-in-AAA. for reasons mentioned, i don’t think boston values scutaro enough to pass up a shot at a comp pick

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago

            Scutaro saw what you said and felt underappreictaed. Well done.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            clearly he belongs in toronto

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            the guy in the white tshirt is his cousin 

            p.s thanks for ruining mcgowans return, real nice of you pricks.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            whatever it’s alvarez’s fault. normally those runs would be spread out over two games but noooo, toronto has to have great young pitching. ooooh look at all our young talent, we’re gonna shake up the whole division

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            what did you think of him?  If he can develop a slider I think he’s going to be awesome.
            Perez on the other hand…not so much

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            boston helped him out by getting themselves out an obnoxious number of times, but that was partially a credit to his command. he forced them into it by pitching aggressively to the corners with really nice movement. at twenty-fricken-one he’s got plenty of time to polish an out pitch – or two

            i was going to suggest that he’s making a case for the 5th starter spot in 2012, but i just saw he’s never pitched in AAA and only thrown 90 AA innings?! wow. wonder how aggressive they’ll be. can’t argue with the results

          • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

            Yah, he started the season in  high if you can believe it and he was drafted as a position player, but couldn’t hit..

            Its ridiculous to have that kind of arm AND command at 21… i wish drabek had his composure on the mound..

            I think he’ll start in the rotation next year, even if they sign Wilson, 4 options don’t appear to be clear. Either way, he’s come out of no where, its kind of freakin awesome.

          • crashcameron 4 years ago

            i think your italics just blew out its elbow. Tommy John for your keyboard, for sure

  5. daveineg 4 years ago

    I’m no so certain that Betancourt is such a no-brainer.  I’m sure the sabermetric zealots and just plain haters (and you know who you are) will beat me up for this, but the fact is Betancourt has been the everyday shortstop for a team that is on pace for 95-96 wins and that team has no internal option to replace him at this moment.  Not only that, it was Betancourt’s hot bat coming out of the break that was a key factor in triggering the 2nd half Brewer onslaught.

    Now $6 million is certainly steep when you look at this numbers, but it’s not extreme for a team that could have payroll space created if Fielder does leave.  Plus $2 million is no small price to pay to have a guy who started 150 or so games for you to just walk away. 

    I’m sure the Brewers will look around to see if an upgrade is possible but I wouldn’t count Betancourt out of the picture just yet, maybe at a more reasonable price than $6 million, but who knows? Melvin has always given guys he’s traded to get the benefit of the doubt.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      “I’m sure the sabermetric zealots and just plain haters (and you know who
      you are) will beat me up for this, but the fact is Betancourt has been
      the everyday shortstop for a team that is on pace for 95-96 wins”

      sabermetrics have nothing to do with the reason this is a backwards analysis

  6. Brian Vernon 4 years ago

    Ronny Cedeno’s option should be picked up.  The Pirates don’t have any internal options and $2.8M is cheap compared to what they would have to spend on the open market.  Let’s face it, Rollins or Reyes aren’t coming to the Burgh.  Upgrading would be overpaying for Renteria or Furcal.Cedeno has also been one of the better fielding shortstops in the league this year, which is key to helping out the average at best pitching staff.  He’s still only 28, currently has a 2.0 WAR (which is 15th best among ML SS).  Not out of reach for him to return.

    • Bob George 4 years ago

      Ronny Cedeno has rocks for brains and so does any GM who thinks about paying him $2.8 mil.

      • goner 4 years ago

        I’m not so sure he’s worth $2.8M either, but the cupboard is pretty bare at SS otherwise

    • Smrtbusnisman04 4 years ago

      I agree that Cedeno is a great fielding SS. He also has great power to right center. Ronny’s option should be picked up because as you said, its hard to upgrade at the position. I’d give him one more year and make Jordy Mercer the starter in 2013.

    • derekbellstutu 4 years ago

      The Pirates aren’t going to find a cheaper solution at SS for 2012.  Replacing him would cost too much money or prospects, so the Bucs are better off bringing Ronny back next season.

      It’ll be interesting to see how the Pirates fill their vacancies at catcher & 1B for next season.  They would do well to bring Derrek Lee back and Mike McKenry should definitely be in the mix for catching options for the Bucs next season.

  7. Brian Vernon 4 years ago

    I don’t agree that Renteria is an upgrade, but I know some “baseball” people who overvalue veterans believe he might be.

  8. eeee12 4 years ago

    Rafael Hamstring Tear isn’t an upgrade either

  9. fxx3605 4 years ago

    wainwrights a given in my opinion

  10. I don’t think waino is a bounce back candidate, closer to a cy young candidate than that. I mean, would any one be surprised if he had a great year. Not really.

  11. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

     Aaron Hill and Dustin Mcgowan!

  12. goner 4 years ago

    agreed, McLouth has nowhere to go but up.  I’d be surprised if he gets much more than Eric Hinske money, though.

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