October 2012

Rays Expected To Exercise Jose Molina’s Option

The Rays are expected to exercise their $1.8MM option on catcher Jose Molina for 2013, according to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (via Twitter).  The move effectively costs the Rays $1.5MM as Molina’s buyout was worth $300K.

At the very least, Molina provides Tampa Bay with a capable backup as they work with a limited budget this winter.  The backstop hit .223/.286/.355 with eight homers in 274 plate appearances last year but was worked exceptionally well with the club’s pitchers. 

The Rays now have just two options remaining in Fernando Rodney and Luke Scott.  Rodney is expected to be retained at $2.5MM while Scott will likely get a buyout of $1MM over a $6MM salary.

Mets Exercise Options On Wright, Dickey

The Mets have formally picked up their contract options for David Wright and R.A. Dickey, sources told Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).  The Mets began the early stages of extension talks with both players after the season but the discussions were reportedly moving slowly.

Wright's option for 2013 will pay him $16MM while Dickey's is for just $5MM.  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier today that the third baseman was discussing a long-term deal with the club.  Officials told Joel Sherman of the New York Post that they expected an extension for Wright to cost about $143MM over eight years when including the 2013 option.

Some have speculated that Dickey could be in line for a Oliver Perez-type extension, which would be for three years at about $36MM.  However, the Mets reportedly don't have anything that lucrative in mind.  At the age of 38, Dickey's situation is a complicated one as knuckleballers historically haven't fared well beyond 40.

White Sox Exercise Option On Floyd, Decline Myers & Youkilis

The White Sox announced that they have exercised the 2013 club option on the contract of right-hander Gavin Floyd while declining 2013 options on right-hander Brett Myers and third baseman Kevin Youkilis.  Floyd will earn a base salary of $9.5MM in 2013.  Myers will receive a $3MM buyout instead of his $10MM option while Youkilis will get $1MM in place of his $13MM option.

Floyd, 29, posted a 4.29 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.4 BB/9 in 29 starts last season.  The exercising of the option means that Floyd will earn more in 2013 than he has in any previous year.  The right-hander signed a four-year, $15.5MM extension with the club in March of 2009 that now totals $25MM across five years with today's news.

The White Sox acquired Myers and a pair of minor leaguers from the Astros in July for cash considerations and a low-level minor league pitcher.  The 32-year-old had a fairly even split between the two clubs, as he posted a 3.31 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in total on the year.  Keeping the reliever would have been fairly costly, but team president Kenny Williams recently said that Myers could potentially be moved into a starting role for the club next season.  Of course, the White Sox could still sign the veteran to a new deal.

Youkilis' $13MM option was widely considered a slam dunk to be declined, but the club has been open abou their desire to keep him in Chicago.  The veteran saw his offensive production improve after coming over from the Red Sox, hitting .236/.346/.425 with 15 homers in 344 plate appearances for the club.

White Sox Extend Jake Peavy

It didn't take long for Rick Hahn to make his first move as the general manager of the White Sox. Four days after officially introducing Hahn as GM, the team announced a two-year, $29MM contract extension with Jake Peavy. The deal will keep Peavy in Chicago through 2014 and includes an option for 2015.

“Jake Peavy showed again last season why he is capable of being one of the top pitchers in the American League,” Hahn said in a statement released by the team.

Jake Peavy - White Sox (PW)

Peavy gets a $14.5MM salary in 2013 and 2014. The 2015 option becomes a player option if Peavy reaches innings thresholds in 2013 and 2014. Peavy's previous contract included a $22MM club option with a $4MM buyout. Peavy still receives the buyout, according to the team. It will be paid in equal installments from 2016-19.

Peavy, 31, started 32 games this past season — easily his best showing since he pitched for the Padres. In 219 innings Peavy posted a 3.37 ERA with 8.0 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. He would have been one of the top starters available in free agency if the White Sox had declined his 2013 option without re-signing him.

This marks Rick Hahn's first major deal as Chicago's GM. CAA Sports represents Peavy, who was without representation as recently as a few weeks ago.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.

Quick Hits: Yankees, Mets, Indians, Ross

With just one day to go before option decisions are due and only a few days remaining before free agents can sign with any team, here are the latest links from around MLB…

Braden, Devine Elect Free Agency

Left-hander Dallas Braden and right-hander Joey Devine elected free agency, the Athletics announced. The pitchers declined outright assignments to Triple-A after being removed from the 40-man roster and clearing outright waivers.

Both Braden and Devine projected as non-tender candidates after missing the 2012 season with injuries. Braden, 29, continued rehabbing from a shoulder operation that took place in May of 2011 before undergoing a second surgery in August to repair his left rotator cuff. He had a projected salary of $3.4MM, but wasn't worth the commitment given rules that prevent teams from cutting the salaries of arbitration eligible players by more than 20%.

Devine missed the entire season to undergo Tommy John surgery, his second such operation. The 29-year-old had a projected salary of $1.1MM.

Heyman On Wright, A’s, Cabrera

The latest from notes and rumors from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com…

  • The Mets are discussing a long-term deal with David Wright, Heyman reports. They'll exercise the third baseman's $16MM option for 2013 by tomorrow, assuming a larger deal isn't completed by then. The sides appear to have made progress, though some say the negotiations are progressing slowly. It appears the discussions will continue after the option's exercised, Heyman writes.
  • The Athletics are talking to free agent shortstop Stephen Drew about a new contract, Heyman reports. The A's declined their half of Drew's 2013 mutual option yesterday, but assistant general manager David Forst said the team will continue talking to him about a possible deal.
  • Everth Cabrera has hired Scott Boras as his agent, Heyman reports (on Twitter). Cabrera, a former ACES client, will be arbitration eligible for the first time this coming offseason. Be sure to check out MLBTR’s Agency Database for any information about player representatives.
  • The Angels are still talking to teams about possible deals involving Ervin Santana and Dan Haren, Heyman reports. In case you missed it, MLBTR reported today that Santana switched agencies again.

Latest On Dodgers, Ethier

TUESDAY: A trade involving Ethier is "not happening," Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports.

MONDAY: The Dodgers made headlines this season when they signed Andre Ethier to a five-year, $85MM extension. ESPN's Buster Olney reports that now, just months later, the team is open to the concept of trading their slugging right fielder (Twitter link).

Trading a player recently signed to such a large contract would be virtually unprecedented, though it would make previous reports that the team could retain Shane Victorino more logical.

The 30-year-old Ethier hit .284/.351/.460 with 20 home runs in 2012. Despite that production, there would be many deterrents for teams that show interest. Ethier struggled mightily against left-handed pitching, triple-slashing just .222/.276/.330 against southpaws. He'll be 31 years old on April 10 next season, and he will be 35 years of age when his $85MM extension expires. Beyond that, defensive metrics such as UZR and the Fielding Bible have never been fans of his glovework (though he has one Gold Glove under his belt).

However, most believe that Ethier would have fetched a larger payday had he become a free agent this offseason rather than signing his extension. Teams that would have had interest in the longtime Dodger could look at this as an opportunity to get Ethier into their lineup while saving some money. He would also present an alternative for teams that miss out on Josh Hamilton in free agency.

Astros Designate Matt Downs For Assignment

The Astros designated infielder Matt Downs for assignment, Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports. The Astros originally acquired Downs when they claimed him off of waivers from the Giants in 2010.

Downs played in 91 games for the Astros this past season, appearing at all four infield positions and at both corner outfield positions. He posted a .202/.253/.371 batting line in 191 plate appearances, down from the .276/.347/.518 line he posted in his first full season with the Astros. The 28-year-old bats from the right side and has shown slightly more power against left-handed pitching in his four-year MLB career.

Braves Exercise Three 2013 Options

2:03pm: The Braves announced they've exercised the options for McCann, Hudson and Maholm.

10:46am: The Braves are expected to announce today that they've exercised the 2013 contract options for Brian McCann, Tim Hudson and Paul Maholm, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). The Braves have until tomorrow to decide whether the players will return to Atlanta for another year or become free agents.

McCann recently underwent shoulder surgery that was more extensive than expected, so there was some question as to whether GM Frank Wren would exercise the $12MM option. The 28-year-old hit 20 home runs and posted a .230/.300/.399 batting line in 2012, the worst offensive season of his career.

Hudson will earn $9MM in 2013 instead of a $1MM buyout. He posted a 3.62 ERA with 5.1 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 179 innings with the Braves in 2012. Joining him in the rotation will be Maholm, who posted a 3.67 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 189 innings this past season. The 30-year-old left-hander will earn $6.5MM.