October 2011

Yankees, C.C. Sabathia Agree To Extension

C.C. Sabathia has agreed to a precedent-setting contract that will keep him in pinstripes and off of the free agent market. The 31-year-old left-hander announced on his Twitter account and on Zoodig.com that he has agreed to a new deal with the Yankees. 

He could have opted out of the remaining four years and $92MM of his original seven-year, $161MM contract with New York by midnight tonight. Instead, he gets a deal that guarantees him $122MM and could be worth as much as $142MM. Sabathia will earn $24.4MM per season over the course of the five guaranteed seasons — slightly more than his former teammate, Cliff Lee, obtained last offseason and more than any other pitcher has obtained on a multiyear deal. Sabathia's original contract is still the largest guaranteed total for any pitcher in history.

“CC is the ace of our pitching staff, a leader in our clubhouse and a driving force for the Yankees in our community,” Yankees GM Brian Cashman said. “He is exactly the type player and person that Yankees fans and this organization can be proud of.”

The sides agreed to add a $25MM salary for 2016 and a vesting option worth the same amount for 2017 ($5MM buyout), according to ESPN's Buster Olney (via Twitter) and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The option automatically vests unless Sabathia finishes the 2016 season on the DL with a left shoulder injury, spends 45 days on the DL with a left shoulder injury, or makes at least six relief appearances in 2016 due to shoulder problems, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (all Twitter links).

The Yankees originally offered Sabathia a five-year contract worth $120.5MM according to Sherman (on Twitter), but the team increased their offer today to prevent their ace from opting out and hitting the open market. Olney reports (on Twitter) that the two sides are still awaiting contract language approval.

Though Cashman's offseason became much simpler tonight, it's by no means complete. The Yankees will likely explore deals for pitching and look to solidify their bullpen and bench.

Rangers Exercise Option On Yoshinori Tateyama

The Rangers announced that they exercised their 2012 option for Yoshinori Tateyama (Twitter link). The right-hander will earn a $1MM salary in 2012. 

Tateyama, 35, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2011, pitching 44 innings of relief for the Rangers. He posted a 4.50 ERA with 8.8 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, a 38.7% ground ball rate and an average fastball velocity of just 86.9 mph.

D’Backs Announce Option Decisions

The D'Backs announced that they exercised their sides of the mutual options for Henry Blanco and Willie Bloomquist, while declining their team options for Zach Duke and Aaron Hill (Twitter link). However, Bloomquist has declined his side of the mutual option and would like to work out a longer deal, according to MLB.com's Steve Gilbert (on Twitter).

Blanco's option is worth $1.15MM and includes a $250K buyout. It's not yet clear whether he'll return to Arizona for a second season. In 112 plate appearances in 2011, the 14-year veteran posted a .250/.330/.540 line with eight home runs. Bloomquist's option was worth $1.1MM. The 33-year-old played left field, shortstop and second base in 2011, while posting a .266/.317/.340 battling line in 381 plate appearances.

Hill posted an .878 OPS with the D'Backs after struggling in Toronto for a combined season line of .246/.299/.356. Though the D'Backs would like him back, his $8MM option was too much for GM Kevin Towers' liking. Hill's contract also included an $8MM team option for 2013. Duke posted a 4.93 ERA with 3.8 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in 76 2/3 innings, so there was no doubt that the team would decline its $5.5MM club option in favor of the $750K buyout.

Remaining Contract Options

By the end of today, teams and players must decide on all 2012 contract options.  Here's what's left:


  • Rafael Furcal – $12MM club option with a $1.3MM buyout.  This is a lock to be declined, unless the Cardinals sign him to an extension first.
  • Octavio Dotel – $3.5MM club option with a $750K buyout.  I'm guessing the Cardinals will exercise this option.


Rays Exercise Farnsworth’s Option, Not Shoppach’s

The Rays exercised Kyle Farnsworth's 2012 option while declining Kelly Shoppach's, according to the Tampa Tribune (on Twitter). Farnsworth obtains a $3.3MM salary instead of a $650K buyout and Shoppach obtains a $300K buyout instead of a $3.2MM salary.

Farnsworth posted a 2.18 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 57 2/3 innings out of the bullpen in 2011. Shoppach, 31, hit just .176/.268/.339 in 253 plate appearances, but he led the league by preventing 41% of stolen base attempts. The Rays will look to get more offense from behind the plate in 2012.

Jays Exercise Encarnacion’s Option, Decline Rauch’s

The Blue Jays announced that they exercised their 2012 option for Edwin Encarnacion and declined their option for Jon Rauch. Encarnacion obtains a $3.5MM salary instead of a $500K buyout and Rauch obtains a $250K buyout instead of a $3.75MM salary.

Encarnacion, 28, posted a .272/.334/.453 line and hit 17 home runs in 2011. I explained at the beginning of September that the Blue Jays were likely to pick up his option because of his strong final four months.

Rauch, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA with 6.2 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 52 innings for Toronto in 2011, finishing the season on the 15-day disabled list with a right knee cartilage tear. Although he is a Type B free agent, an offer of arbitration from the Blue Jays seems unlikely.

Rays Exercise Option On James Shields

The Rays exercised James Shields' $7.5MM option, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. Shields would not have been eligible for free agency if the Rays had declined the option. Instead, Tampa Bay would have gone to arbitration with Shields and he would have obtained a salary in excess of $7.5MM.

Picking up Shields' option was an easy decision, even for the low-payroll Rays. The right-hander posted a 2.82 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 249 1/3 innings in 2011, leading the league with 11 complete games and four shutouts. He would have extremely high trade value, though Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has said he wants to preserve Tampa Bay's pitching depth.

The Rays still face decisions on Kyle Farnsworth and Kelly Shoppach.

Outrighted: Thompson, Burton, Pirates, Tigers

Players outrighted off 40-man rosters today:

  • The Reds announced that they outrighted Daryl Thompson and Jared Burton off of the 40-man roster.  Burton would have been arbitration eligible for the second time and MLBTR projected a salary in the $900K range for the 30-year-old.
  • The Pirates announced that they outrighted Brian Burres, Kevin Hart, Brandon Wood and Steve Pearce to Triple-A to create 40-man roster space.  All four players can now elect free agency.  Wood and Pearce would have been arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and though neither player projected to earn even $1MM, the Pirates decided to cut them loose instead of tendering contracts.
  • The Tigers outrighted catcher Omir Santos and lefty Brad Thomas, tweets MLB.com's Jason Beck.  Thomas would have been arbitration eligible, but it was clear he wouldn't make it to the point of being tendered a contract after missing much of the season with an elbow injury.

Twins Claim Jeff Gray

The Twins announced that they claimed right-hander Jeff Gray off of waivers from the Mariners. They also confirmed that they claimed left-hander Matt Maloney off of waivers from the Reds.

Gray, 29, spent the 2011 season with the Mariners and White Sox. He posted a 4.28 ERA with 4.3 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 48 1/3 innings of relief.

Twins Claim Matt Maloney

3:50pm: The Reds announced that the Twins claimed Maloney off of waivers (Twitter link).

1:08pm: The Twins appear to have acquired 27-year-old lefty Matt Maloney from the Reds, as Maloney tweeted today, "Thanks for everything Reds…but i am now a Minnesota Twin!!! Looking forward to a great new opportunity!!"

Maloney spent most of the season at Triple-A, where he posted a 2.99 ERA, 5.6 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, and 0.9 HR/9 in 81 1/3 innings, missing much of the season with a cracked rib.  Baseball America ranked him eighth among Reds prospects a few years ago, noting that his ceiling was that of a back-of-the-rotation starter.