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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7 Comments on "Option Predictions: Relievers"

4 years 20 days ago

The Cardinals have Motte and Salas who have done quite well this year. Plus Sanchez and Lynn when healthy and Rzep as the lefty. $3.75 million isn’t a ton of money, but it might be better allocated to a certain first baseman.

4 years 20 days ago

I agree with you completely. But TLR loves Dotel, and if TLR’s pull with Mo is as great as conspiracy theorists speculate, then Dotel may be back next year (if TLR himself is back, which hopefully he isn’t, especially after he pinch-hit with useless Corey Patterson at the end of the game last night, and predictably he got K’d).

4 years 15 days ago

The Cardinals need some experience in their bullpen.¬† They can’t keep relying on just these young, inexperienced¬†guys who may or may not significantly decline in performance next year.¬† Dotel’s option is a much better choice than going after the free agent market.

4 years 20 days ago

Wuertz and Affeldt will be in demand if they reach free agency, probably not so much with the others predicted to be declined.

4 years 20 days ago

Wuertz has been awful, so not sure how “in demand” he’ll be…

4 years 20 days ago

Marte has a lot to prove with all that failure he brought into the yankees bullpen. He made me sad.

4 years 20 days ago

At this point in his career, Nathan is totally useless. this guy is throwing junk out of the bullpen and yet the Twins want him back mainly because he’s been their closer for the last decade? Sounds like the Twins want an end of his career hoffmann