We’ll cover the day’s major option decisions in separate posts, but here are some of the relatively less impactful calls being made by teams around the league:
- The Astros have declined the option of right-hander Chad Qualls, the club announced. He’ll receive a $250K buyout rather than the $3.5MM option price. Qualls, 37, worked to a 4.38 ERA over 49 1/3 innings last year in Houston, with 8.4 K/9 against 1.9 BB/9 and a 59.9% groundball rate. That earned run mark was unlucky, if you believe metrics like FIP (3.52), xFIP (2.99), and SIERA (2.60). There ought to be no shortage of clubs interested in the veteran, who functioned as Houston’s closer at times in 2014. His peripherals give some cause for optimism, though he did lose a tick on his fastball and allowed a 17.1% HR/FB rate.
- Also announcing some option decisions were the Yankees, who say that infielder Brendan Ryan has exercised his $1MM player option. The 33-year-old has not been terribly productive since coming to New York, taking just 289 plate appearances and compiling a poor .201/.244/.271 batting line over his three years with the team. Ryan is valued most for his glove, of course. He could find himself lacking a roster spot at some point, depending upon how the team proceeds in filling its second base and reserve infield roles.
- Meanwhile, the Yankees declined their $2MM option on righty Andrew Bailey. He had returned to the club after it declined a 2015 option, and his new deal also apparently contained such a provision. While Bailey did make it back to the big leagues for the first time since 2013, he struggled with his command, though that was in a sample size of less than ten innings. The righty was able to put up rather dominant numbers in the minors during his rehab stint. As Chad Jennings of LoHud.com notes on Twitter, the club can still control Bailey through arbitration. MLBTR projects him to take home a $900K salary through that process, if he’s tendered.
- The Diamondbacks have officially exercised their option on righty Brad Ziegler. The 36-year-old was even better than usual last year. He spun 68 innings of 1.85 ERA ball, even as his strikeout rate dropped to just 4.8 K/9. Metrics like FIP and xFIP were less impressed, but that’s always been the case with Ziegler, whose sidearmed sinker/curve/change mix produced a ridiculous 72.8% groundball rate this year. Long a quality set-up man, Ziegler moved seamlessly into the closer’s role when Addison Reed faltered. He’ll earn $5.5MM next year in his final season of control, which is quite an attractive price given his track record.
- Likewise, the Diamondbacks picked up their option on Josh Collmenter. His drop in strikeouts is arguably more concerning, particularly as it came in a year in which he spent a lot of time working from the bullpen (in addition to making 12 starts). The 29-year-old threw 121 total innings, posting a solid 3.79 ERA. But with his K rate dipping below five-per-nine and a groundball rate that typically lands in the mid-thirty-percent range, there’s concern going forward. Collmenter will take home $1.825MM, which is affordable enough that the team can roll the dice on a rebound. He is also controllable for 2017 via mutual option.