Option Predictions: Relievers

Last week I predicted upcoming option decisions for all potential free agent position players and starting pitchers.  It's time to finish off the series with a look at 15 relievers.

  • Francisco Cordero, Reds: $12MM club option with a $1MM buyout.  The Reds may work out a new contract prior to the option decision coming up in November, but if it gets to that point this will clearly be declined.
  • Brad Lidge, Phillies: $12.5MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout.  Lidge has returned from a rotator cuff strain to post high strikeout and walk rates with an 89 mile per hour fastball.  He'll be an interesting free agent after the option is declined.  
  • Joe Nathan, Twins: $12.5MM club option with a $2MM buyout.  Nathan is another closer with a big-money option that will be declined, but rumor has it the Twins would like to bring him back.  The 36-year-old had Tommy John surgery in March of 2010.
  • Jon Rauch, Blue Jays: $3.75MM club option with a $250K buyout.  Between an appendectomy and a knee injury, Rauch's season did not end well.  As a likely Type B free agent an arbitration offer is possible, but I think the option will be declined.
  • Rafael Soriano, Yankees: $11MM player option or a $1.5MM buyout.  Soriano is not expected to opt out of his contract, as he'd be leaving huge money on the table.  I suppose there is a tiny chance he'd just want a fresh start and a chance to close somewhere, but it's highly unlikely.  
  • Jose Valverde, Tigers: $9MM club option, no buyout.  Valverde's 43-for-43 performance in save opportunities has led to a new franchise record, and it seems very likely the option is exercised.
  • Octavio Dotel, Cardinals: $3.75MM club option with a $750K buyout.  There is uncertainty in the Cardinals' bullpen, and Dotel has been excellent in an 18 1/3 inning sample.  I think the Cardinals will exercise the option, but if not they could get a draft pick given Dotel's likely Type B status.
  • Kyle Farnsworth, Rays: $3.3MM club option with a $650K buyout.  He's had a strong year as the Rays closer, though his elbow has been barking lately.  Though a draft pick could be had, I see the Rays exercising this option.
  • Jason Frasor, White Sox: $3.75MM club option.  Frasor is not necessarily needed in the White Sox bullpen.  But I think someone will value him at this price and the Sox will exercise.
  • Chad Qualls, Padres: $6MM club option with a $1.5MM buyout.  Qualls has been useful, but this will be declined.
  • Yoshinori Tateyama, Rangers: $1MM club option.  At this price it's an easy decision to exercise.
  • Dan Wheeler, Red Sox: $3MM club option with no buyout.  I think getting Wheeler back at the same salary is fair, and the Red Sox will exercise.
  • Michael Wuertz, Athletics: $3.25MM club option with a $250K buyout.  Walks have been up in another season marred by injuries.  This could go either way but I think the A's will decline.
  • Jeremy Affeldt, Giants: $5MM club option with a $500K buyout.  It sounds like the Giants will decline the option if it gets to that point, but they'd like to re-sign him.
  • Damaso Marte, Yankees: $4MM club option with a $250K buyout.  Marte ended up earning about $387K per inning on this contract.  The option will be declined.


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