The Dodgers announced on Twitter today that they've declined club options on starter Jon Garland and third baseman Casey Blake, and also outrighted Eugenio Velez to Triple-A. Typically option decisions are announced after the World Series, but Garland and Blake were obvious choices.
For Garland, the Dodgers chose a $500K buyout over an $8MM club option. Garland had signed for a below-market guarantee of $5MM in November, but a vesting option in the contract became moot when the righty when down for an oblique injury in March and shoulder surgery in July. Garland, now 32, had previously been a lock for around 200 innings per season. If Garland is healthy, his agents at LSW Baseball should have no problem finding a one-year deal worth a few million plus incentives, along with a back-end rotation job.
The Dodgers chose a $1.25MM buyout over a $6MM club option on Blake, finishing a contract signed in December of '08. The 38-year-old Jim McDowell client hit .252/.342/.371 in 239 plate appearances. Blake's season was shortened by a ribcage, elbow, and neck injuries, culminating in September neck surgery. McDowell told MLBTR recently that his client should be "100% for 2012." Blake is also looking at a one-year deal, probably of the part-time variety. You can check out MLBTR's list of all the 2012 free agents here.
Velez, now the record-holder for a non-pitcher going hitless in a season with an 0-for-37 showing, was removed from the 40-man roster. Once free agents Aaron Miles, Jamey Carroll, Hiroki Kuroda, Rod Barajas, Juan Rivera, Vicente Padilla, Jonathan Broxton, and Mike MacDougal are subtracted, the Dodgers' tally will be down to 30.