Billy Wagner Rumors

2011 Vestings Options Update

The season started with nine vesting options to watch, but we're down to just five a little beyond the season's halfway point…

  • Trever Miller, Cardinals. The southpaw's $2MM option vests with 45 appearances. He's appeared in 31 of the team's 85 games, so he's on pace for 59. He should get there easily.
  • Alex Cora, Mets. Cora's $2MM option vests with 80 games (not necessarily starts), and he's already appeared in 48. He's on pace for 91 games. Luis Castillo's foot and Ruben Tejada's emergence could stand in Cora's way.
  • Darren Oliver, Rangers. His $3.25MM option will lock in with 59 appearances. He's already appeared in 37 games, so he should get there without a problem.
  • Ramon Hernandez, Reds. Hernandez must play in 120 games for his $3.25MM option to vest. He's appeared in just 57 of Cincinnati's first 86 contests, putting him on pace for 107 games. 
  • Magglio Ordonez, Tigers. Ordonez's $15MM option vests with 135 starts or 540 plate appearances. He's on pace for 141 and 615, respectively, so it'll take a lengthy stint on the disabled list to knock him off track.

The vesting options for Kerry Wood, Brian Fuentes, Billy Wagner, and Matt Cain have already been addressed.

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2011 Vesting Options Update

We entered the season with nine 2011 vesting option situations to watch.  With one month in the books, several have already been pretty much decided.  Let's take a look.

  • Brian Fuentes, Angels.  A back strain put Fuentes on the DL for a little while, making it unlikely he reaches 55 games finished.  He'd need 51 in the team's remaining 136 games to cause his $9MM option to vest.
  • Billy Wagner, Braves.  Wagner's $6.5MM option vests with 50 games finished.  He's finished eight games so far, and would have a shot at 50.  However, the 38-year-old lefty recently told Braves manager Bobby Cox he'll retire after the season.
  • Trever Miller, Cardinals.  His $2MM option vests with 45 games, and he's appeared in seven so far.  That's behind Miller's typical pace; he's averaged 71 the last three years.  It's probably random, and Miller should still reach 45 games. 
  • Matt Cain, Giants.  The $6.25MM option probably would've vested, but the Giants decided to guarantee Cain's 2011 salary at $7MM as part of an extension.
  • Kerry Wood, Indians.  His $11MM option vests with 55 games finished, but a back injury has Wood just now approaching his 2010 big league debut.
  • Alex Cora, Mets.  His $2MM option vests with 80 starts.  He's started ten games so far.  With Luis Castillo and Jose Reyes in the Mets' middle infield, we can't rule this one out yet.
  • Darren Oliver, Rangers.  His $3.25MM option vests with 59 appearances.  He's already made a dozen, so this is looking likely.
  • Ramon Hernandez, Reds.  His $3.25MM option vests with 120 games played.  Hernandez is at 16 so far, with the red-hot Ryan Hanigan getting more playing time recently.
  • Magglio Ordonez, Tigers.  His $15MM option vests with 135 starts or 540 plate appearances.  He's at 25 games started and 113 plate appearances, so he'll get there barring injury.
  • We're down to five vesting options to monitor: Miller, Cora, Oliver, Hernandez, and Ordonez.  Also keep an eye on Francisco Rodriguez, whose scary $17.5MM option for 2012 vests with 100 games finished in 2010-11, 55 games finished in '11, and a successful physical after the '11 season.  K-Rod has finished nine games on the young season.

Wagner To Retire At Season’s End

Braves closer Billy Wagner told manager Bobby Cox that he plans on retiring at the end of this season, writes Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  The lefty says that he will not play out his $6.5MM option for 2011 which automatically vests if he finishes 50 games. 

Cox told Wagner that he believes that he still has the ability to play for a few more years, but the 38-year-old says that he wants to spend more time with his family.  Wagner, who turns 39 in July, will earn $7MM this season.

The fireballer is sixth on the all-time saves list with 386 and wants to reach 400, but he's only going to give himself the rest of 2010 to get there. 

Rosenthal’s Full Count Video: Lowell, D’Backs's Ken Rosenthal has a new Full Count video up, so let's dive in…

  • If the Red Sox decide to give Mike Lowell more at-bats at the expense of David Ortiz, don't be surprised if it happens soon. Just six of their next 26 games are on the road, and Lowell is a .303/.361/.513 career hitter at Fenway. Yesterday we heard that the Sox would probably release Ortiz before keeping him on the bench.
  • Should the Orioles decide to part ways with manager Dave Trembley, Rosenthal calls Greg Maddux an outside the box replacement candidate. Andy MacPhail has long admired Maddux's baseball smarts, and thinks he could succeed in any role. Keep in mind that the 355 game winner is currently working for Cubs GM Jim Hendry, and his only tie to the O's is MacPhail, his former GM with Chicago.
  • The Diamondbacks' rotation depth remains an issue, but they have minimal interest in Jarrod Washburn. They only have so much money to spend, and Washburn is coming off knee surgery and hasn't been through Spring Training. Arizona believes they're better off waiting until other teams fall out of the race and the trade market begins to develop.
  • The concern in Atlanta is about Bobby Cox's bullpen management. The 38-year-old Billy Wagner and 40-year-old Takashi Saito have been worked hard in the early going.

Cafardo’s Latest: Mauer, Beckett, Wood, Sonnanstine

The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo has his usual Sunday column up, kicking it off by entertaining the unlikely possibility of Joe Mauer playing in Boston. If the Twins and Mauer can't work out a long-term deal, Cafardo thinks the Red Sox would be one of a handful of teams that could afford the superstar backstop. Here are a few other highlights from Cafardo's piece:

  • One possible roadblock in the Josh Beckett negotiations is the Red Sox' desire to incorporate injury protection into the contract. If Beckett has a good year in 2010, he will likely have suitors that won't include health clauses in their offers, which could appeal to the right-hander.
  • The Cubs have some interest in Kerry Wood. Cafardo notes that the Indians closer would also be a good fit for the Twins, but that the Tribe would have to pick up a significant chunk of the $10.5MM Wood will earn this season.
  • The Rays may entertain trade offers for Andy Sonnanstine, who is having a solid spring.
  • Billy Wagner says that returning to Boston was "tempting" but that with Jonathan Papelbon firmly entrenched as the ninth-inning guy, the lefty went where he'd have a better chance to close.

2011 Vesting Options

Vesting options are always fun for hot stove junkies to follow during the season.  Last year we had Kevin Millwood's $12 Million Out and the Tigers allowing Magglio Ordonez's pricey option to vest.  2011 vesting options to watch this year:

  • Brian Fuentes, Angels: $9MM option vests with 55 games finished.  Fuentes has finished 55+ three times in his career, last year included.  Fernando Rodney will be lurking.
  • Billy Wagner, Braves: $6.5MM option vests with 50 games finished.
  • Trever Miller, Cardinals: $2MM option vests with 45 games, but reverts to a club option with a left arm or shoulder injury.
  • Matt Cain, Giants: $6.25MM option vests with 182.3 innings or 27 starts.  The Giants will exercise this even if it doesn't vest, as the alternative will be going to arbitration with Cain and potentially paying him more.
  • Kerry Wood, Indians: $11MM option vests with 55 games finished.  A trade into a non-closing job could affect Wood's bank account.  That's three closers whose GF totals we'll be monitoring. 
  • Alex Cora, Mets: $2MM option vests with 80 starts.
  • Darren Oliver, Rangers: $3.25MM option vests with 59 appearances.
  • Ramon Hernandez, Reds: $3.25MM option vests with 120 games played.
  • Magglio Ordonez, Tigers: $15MM option vests with 135 starts or 540 plate appearances.
  • Note that a game finished is given to the last non-starting pitcher of record.  Also, thanks to Cot's Baseball Contracts for the info.

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