8:09pm: The Red Sox have also announced that they’ve picked up their 2017 option on David Ortiz. The move is a formality, since Ortiz is expected to retire.
2:30pm: Drellich also writes that the Red Sox plan to pick up Clay Buchholz’s $13.5MM club option, and Heyman tweeted that the team will indeed do so. Buchholz had a $500K buyout on the option, so the decision boiled down to a $13MM call for Boston. (The team has announced both option decisions.)
Buchholz, who turned 32 in August, struggled with the Red Sox for much of the season and at one point lost his spot in the starting rotation. However, despite a brief demotion to the bullpen, Buchholz finished the year quite strongly, logging a 3.14 ERA in 28 2/3 innings in September and a 2.86 ERA over his final 44 innings. He’s also a season removed from 113 1/3 innings of 3.26 ERA ball that came with outstanding peripherals. Given the lack of quality options on the free-agent market and the fact that Buchholz generated summer trade interest even before his strong finish to the year, there was an argument to exercise Buchholz’s option even if he’s traded elsewhere this offseason, as MLBTR detailed a couple of weeks ago.
1:56pm: The Red Sox have declined catcher Ryan Hanigan’s $3.75MM option for 2017 in favor of an $800K buyout, according to FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald reported earlier Thursday that the Red Sox were likely to let Hanigan go.
Hanigan joined the Red Sox in December 2014 in a trade that sent third baseman Will Middlebrooks to the Padres, with whom Hanigan never actually played a game. The Red Sox didn’t lose much in dealing Middlebrooks, but Hanigan was still a disappointment in Boston. After establishing himself as a defensively capable backstop with solid offensive skills in Cincinnati and Tampa Bay, Hanigan batted just .219/.298/.294 in two years and 319 plate appearances with the Red Sox. He finished third among Boston’s catchers this year in PAs (113), trailing Sandy Leon and Christian Vazquez, and posted an unusable .171/.230/.238 line. That was poor enough for Boston to wave goodbye to Hanigan, who will try to hook on elsewhere in free agency.
In addition to Leon and Vazquez, the Red Sox also have Blake Swihart as a potential catcher option for next season. The outfield/backstop missed most of this year with an ankle injury. Alternatively, Boston could look to free agency for help, especially if it doesn’t trust Leon’s unexpected breakout.