October 2012

Blue Jays Claim Maine, DFA Cousins, Herndon

The Blue Jays announced that they claimed left-hander Scott Maine off of waivers from the Indians. In related moves they designated outfielder Scott Cousins and right-hander David Herndon for assignment.

Maine spent the 2012 season with the Cubs and the Indians. The 27-year-old made 30 relief appearances, posting a 6.08 ERA with 10.8 K/9 and 5.1 BB/9 in 26 2/3 innings. Cleveland claimed him from the Cubs in August.

The Blue Jays claimed both Cousins and Herndon earlier this month. Cousins, 27, hit .163/.200/.267 in 92 plate appearances for the Marlins this past season. Herndon underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in June, which means he won't be ready to return until midway through the 2013 season.

The Blue Jays needed to create 40-man roster space for right-handers Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison, Dustin McGowan and Sergio Santos plus left-handers J.A. Happ and Luis Perez. All of those pitchers were reinstated from Toronto's 60-day disabled list.

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Pirates Exercise Option For Alvarez, Decline For Barajas, Release Takahashi

The Pirates have exercised their 2013 club option for Pedro Alvarez and declined for Rod Barajas, reports Rob Biertempfel of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (on Twitter). The team also released southpaw Hisanori Takahashi.

Alvarez will earn $700K next season and would have remained under team control as a pre-arbitration eligible player had Pittsburgh declined the option. Barajas, 37, hit .206/.283/.343 with 11 homers this year and will receive no buyout rather than a $3.5MM salary. Takahashi, 37, was due to hit free agency so his release is just procedural. He pitched to a 5.54 ERA in 50 1/3 innings split between the Angels and Pirates in 2012.

Rays Pick Up Options For Shields, Rodney, Molina; Decline For Scott

The Rays have officially exercised their 2013 club options for James Shields, Fernando Rodney, and Jose Molina, the team announced. They also declined their option for Luke Scott.

Both Molina ($1.8MM) and Shields ($10.25MM) were expected to have their options picked up. The 35-year-old Rodney pitched to a 0.60 ERA with 48 saves this year, so his $2.5MM option was a no-brainer. Scott, 34, hit .229/.285/.439 with 14 homers and will receive a $1MM buyout rather than a $6MM salary.

Astros Decline Option For Chris Snyder

The Astros declined their 2013 option for Chris Snyder, GM Jeff Luhnow confirmed to Brian McTaggart of MLB.com (Twitter link). Snyder obtains a $500K buyout instead of a $4MM salary. The LSW Baseball client is now a free agent.

Snyder, 31, appeared in 76 games for the Astros this past season. He posted a .176/.295/.308 batting line in 258 plate appearances, adding seven home runs.

Managerial Notes: Marlins, Indians, Blue Jays

Option decisions are due today, but we won’t let that overshadow the latest managerial news from around MLB…

  • Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon is a candidate for the Marlins' managerial opening, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. McClendon interviewed with Miami yesterday. Larry Bowa and Mike Redmond are also candidates for the position, but Bryan Price has withdrawn his name from consideration.
  • The Indians announced their 2013 coaching staff, and it includes Sandy Alomar Jr. as the bench coach, former Astros manager Brad Mills as the third base coach and former MLB catcher Kevin Cash as the bullpen coach.
  • Alomar isn't out of the running for the Blue Jays' managerial opening, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca notes (on Twitter).

Ryan Ludwick Declines Mutual Option

Ryan Ludwick declined his side of the mutual option on his contract, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). As expected, the Beverly Hills Sports Council client will become a free agent. Ludwick's contract included a $5MM mutual option with a $500K buyout.

Ludwick will pursue a multiyear deal after hitting 26 home runs and posting a .275/.346/.531 batting line in 472 plate appearances with Cincinnati this past season. The Reds need outfielders and will consider working out a new deal with Ludwick. Both sides are “very interested” in discussing another contract, Heyman reported two weeks ago.

Casey McGehee Elects Free Agency

Yankees infielder Casey McGehee has elected free agency, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter). Meister Sports Management represents McGehee, who had been a non-tender candidate in New York.

McGehee, 30, spent this past season with the Pirates and Yankees. He hit nine home runs and posted a .217/.284/.358 batting line in 352 plate appearances. MLBTR had projected a $2.9MM salary for McGehee if the Yankees tendered him a contract. The corner infielder doesn't have a significant platoon split over the course of his five-year career.

Dodgers Targeting James Shields

The Dodgers have identified James Shields as their top target, Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports (hat tip: Rays Index). The Rays will exercise the right-hander’s 2013 option, but could consider trading him as a way of freeing up payroll and addressing other needs.

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti aims to add a starting pitcher this offseason, Saxon writes. Shields would be an excellent fit, as I suggested when previewing the Dodgers’ offseason. The 30-year-old posted a 3.52 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in 227 2/3 innings this past season and his contract includes an option for 2014.

Colletti said he has also spoken to the agent for left-handed reliever Randy Choate. The Dodgers made their first major offseason move last night, signing Brandon League to a three-year deal.

Rafael Soriano Opts Out Of Contract

12:29pm: Soriano has opted out of his contract and will hit free agency, Heyman reports (on Twitter).

7:45am: Rafael Soriano will opt out of his contract with the Yankees and elect free agency today, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Soriano's contract includes a $14MM player option for 2013 with a $1.5MM buyout.

Assuming the right-hander opts out, the Yankees will counter by making him a one-year qualifying offer worth $13.3MM. This would link Soriano to draft pick compensation, setting the Yankees up for a potential pick in 2013. The Scott Boras client is believed to be seeking a four-year deal, Heyman reports. Soriano probably won't accept New York's qualifying offer, but the Yankees are likely willing to give him a two-year deal.

The 32-year-old posted a 2.26 ERA with 9.2 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 with 42 saves this past season. “There is a strong chance that he would have tremendous value as a free agent,” Boras told Joel Sherman earlier in the month. It's hard to disagree following such a strong season.