Sean Burnett Rumors

2015 Vesting Options Update

The state of next year’s free agent class will be impacted by whether or not players with vesting options in their contracts achieve the necessary playing time to trigger those conditional options. Here’s a rundown of these players and their progress toward triggering their options…

  • Nick Punto: Punto has a $2.75MM club option that will automatically vest if he spends fewer than 30 days on the disabled list, assistant GM David Forst told reporters at the time of the signing. He did add that there are other ways for Punto’s option to vest, though for the time being, he’s on pace to see his option vest simply due to the fact that he’s avoided the DL entirely. If the option doesn’t vest, the A’s have the choice of picking him up at $2.75MM or buying him out for $250K.
  • Rickie Weeks: Weeks has an $11.5MM option that won’t be vesting, as he would need to total 600 PA in 2014 or 1,200 PA in 2013-14 and finish the season healthy. He’s being platooned heavily with Scooter Gennett and has just 112 PAs on the season, so he’ll fall well shy of that mark. Should he reach 400 PAs (which only seems likely in the event of Gennett injury), Weeks would be entitled to a $1MM buyout of his option.
  • Jimmy Rollins: Rollins’ option vests if he reaches 600 PA in 2014 or if he totals 1,100 options from 2013-14 and finishes the season on the active roster. He’s 141 PA shy of that combined 1,100 number, meaning he’s highly likely to end up with an $11MM guarantee for 2015.
  • Dan Haren: If Haren pitches 180 innings or more in 2014, he triggers a $10MM player option for the 2015 season. He’s averaging just over six innings per start, so he’s on pace to clear that mark given 30-31 starts. However, if he finishes the season anywhere near his current 3.54 ERA, he may prefer to test the open market in search of a multi-year deal.
  • Mike Adams: Adams’ $6MM club option for 2015 vests with 60 innings pitched in 2014, but he’s once again on the disabled list for the Phillies and has thrown just 17 innings. Adams has thrown 42 innings in his season-and-a-half with the Phils, and it seems highly unlikely that they would pick him up at $6MM given his injury troubles.
  • Rafael Soriano: Soriano’s $14MM club option will vest if he finishes 120 games combined in 2013-14. He’s currently at 81 games finished on the season, meaning he’d need to finish a rather unlikely 39 of his team’s final 92 games (42 percent) this season. Should the option vest, half of his salary will be deferred and paid in annual installments from 2018-25.
  • Kyuji Fujikawa: The Cubs hoped that Fujikawa, one of the best relievers in Japanese history, would help to fortify their bullpen when they signed him to a two-year, $9.5MM contract in the 2012-13 offseason. Instead, both player and team received a hefty dose of bad luck when Fujikawa needed Tommy John surgery after just 12 innings last season. He has a vesting option based on games finished, but the 33-year-old hasn’t pitched in 2014 and surely won’t be crossing that threshold.
  • Sean Burnett: Burnett’s $4.5MM club option vests if he appears in a total of 110 games between 2013-14, but like Fujikawa, he’s been plagued by injury and has no chance of that happening. Burnett has appeared in just 16 games total over the past two seasons and underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this month. The Halos will certainly be paying the $500K buyout on his club option.
  • Scott Downs: Downs has a $4MM vesting option, and while the specifics haven’t been reported, Ken Rosenthal noted at the time of the deal that it would vest were Downs to pitch “a normal workload.” He’s headed in that direction, as he’s on pace for his highest innings total since 2011. Downs has pitched to a 5.48 ERA in his 23 innings, so the White Sox may not wish to see that option vest. Then again, he has a 3.95 ERA dating back to May 3, so he’s shown some signs of improvement.

AL Notes: Lester, Burnett, Santana, Suzuki, Polanco

Red Sox players made news this winter by campaigning openly for the re-signing of Mike Napoli. And Dustin Pedroia even agreed to defer salary in his extension, in part to free payroll space to make a run (which ultimately proved unsuccessful) at retaining Jacoby Ellsbury. As WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes, staff ace Jon Lester — one of the players who pushed to keep Napoli — will almost certainly benefit from much the same treatment. The clubhouse clearly wants Lester to be kept in Boston, says Bradford, who notes that there was “some grumbling” after reports emerged of the club’s somewhat underwhelming extension offer.

Here’s more out of the American League:

  • Southpaw Sean Burnett, who signed a two-year, $8MM deal with the Angels before the 2013 season, learned today that he has suffered a torn UCL for the second time in his career, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. Burnett had just worked his way back from an elbow injury that cut him down after just 13 appearances in 2013, and now seems destined to miss the rest of the year. That makes it rather likely, of course, that the club will decide to pay him a $500K buyout rather than picking up his $4.5MM option for 2015. The Halos currently feature only one lefty in the pen in Wade LeBlanc. Though the team has some options stashed in the upper minors, such as Nick Maronde and Buddy Boshers, none has Burnett’s track record.
  • As expected, the Orioles are working to secure an extension of the June 1 opt-out date in starter Johan Santana‘s minor league deal, reports Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com. Assuming that can be worked out, Baltimore hopes to set Santana on a course that could bring him back to the majors as soon as June 18.
  • Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki said he would be open to extension talks if the club is interested, reports Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press“It’s something that I think you’d be crazy not to listen,” he said. “You’re always open to those things.” Berardino notes that Minnesota previously extended former backstop Ryan Doumit at a similar point in the 2012 season, after originally signing him to a one-year deal as a free agent (as was the case with Suzuki). Nevertheless, a source says that it is still “too early” to consider a new deal for Suzuki, who could also be setting himself up as a nice trade piece with his .297/.363.405 start.
  • While the Twins seem to have made the right call in locking up Suzuki to a modest deal, they missed out on an even bigger opportunity back in 2009 — though the club was not alone in that respect. As Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweets, Minnesota was among about ten other clubs that made offers to outfielder Gregory Polanco which came in just under the Pirates’ winning bid of $175K.

AL West Notes: Vargas, Burnett, Mariners, Rangers

We're less than two weeks away from the non-waiver trade deadline, and with the rumor mill heating up, here's the latest out of the AL West…

  • Angels lefties Jason Vargas and Sean Burnett aren't likely to return before the trade deadline, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. The duo could return shortly after July 31, however. Both southpaws would have been attractive July trading chips, as Vargas is a free agent at season's end, and Burnett is on the first year of an affordable two-year, $8MM contract.
  • Larry Stone of the Seattle Times writes that Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik and manager Eric Wedge are in a tricky position. The duo will likely be judged based on the team's record, which would be better if they hang onto Kendrys Morales, Joe Saunders, Raul Ibanez and the rest of the team's trade chips. However, that also does little to build for the future, leading Stone to say that they could be in a lose-lose situation.
  • In addition to their talks with the Cubs regarding Matt Garza, the Rangers are also seeking a right-handed bat, GM Jon Daniels told reporters today (including Todd Wills of ESPNDallas.com). Alex Rios and Alfonso Soriano "have been mentioned as possible acquisitions," according to Wills, who adds that the Rangers aren't yet ready to give Manny Ramirez a chance at the big league level.
  • From that same piece, Daniels adds that the Rangers aren't panicking over Nelson Cruz's connection to the Biogenesis scandal.


NL East Notes: Braves, Nationals, Phillies

Here are the latest links from the NL East…

  • The Braves made an “aggressive” offer for Shin-Soo Choo before the Reds acquired him, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). The Mariners were also involved, but their offer wasn’t as strong.
  • Nationals manager Davey Johnson said he has received “positive signs” from GM Mike Rizzo that Washington will re-sign free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche before Christmas, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter).
  • The Phillies and Brewers were in on Sean Burnett before he signed with the Angels, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (all Twitter links). Morosi wonders if this means the Phillies would be willing to move a left-handed reliever. It's possible Antonio Bastardo, Jeremy Horst and Raul Valdes would have become trade candidates if the Phillies had signed Burnett.
  • Here's the latest on the Mets and R.A. Dickey.

Contract Details: Burnett, Blanton, Choate

The Angels officially announced their deals with Sean Burnett and Joe Blanton today. Here are details on those contracts and the breakdown of another recently-signed deal…

  • Burnett’s 2015 option vests if he pitches in 110 total games from 2013-14, Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times reports (all Twitter links). The 2015 option is valued at $4.5MM. The Angels recently agreed to sign Burnett to a two-year, $8MM contract that includes incentives. The option becomes a club option with a $500K buyout if it doesn't vest, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Burnett obtains a $250K signing bonus, $3.5MM in 2013 and $3.75MM in 2014, Rosenthal reports.
  • Blanton’s two-year, $15MM contract with the Angels calls for a $6.5MM salary in 2013 and a $7.5MM salary in 2014, DiGiovanna reports. The deal includes an $8MM club option for 2015 with a $1MM buyout. 
  • Randy Choate will earn base salaries of $1.5MM in 2013, $3MM in 2014 and $3MM in 2015 on his three-year, $7.5MM contract with the Cardinals, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports. Langosch has all of the details on the deal, which was agreed upon one week ago.

Overnight Links: Burnett, Phillies, Giants, Rays

It's the middle of the night, but news rarely stops coming in over the course of baseball's Winter Meetings. Here are some links from around the baseball world for those who are still awake…


Angels To Sign Sean Burnett

The Angels reinforced their bullpen with another free agent today, reaching an agreement with lefty Sean Burnett on a two-year deal with a club option, according to MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez.  The deal is worth $8MM, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times, and includes a $4.5MM vesting option for 2015 with a $500K buyout.  Burnett is represented by Jim Munsey.

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Burnett, 30, had been drawing strong interest as one of the best free agent lefty relievers available this offseason.  He posted a 2.38 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 0.64 HR/9, and 57.4% groundball rate in 56 2/3 innings for the Nationals in 2012.

The Angels signed righty Ryan Madson last month, though they also subtracted Jordan Walden in the Tommy Hanson deal.

Earlier today, the Cardinals reached an agreement with lefty Randy Choate on a three-year, $7.5MM deal.  Last month, the Giants re-signed southpaw Jeremy Affeldt to a three-year, $18MM contract.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported a deal was close.  Photo courtesy of U.S. Presswire.


Cardinals Out On Sean Burnett

The Cardinals are no longer in the running to sign Sean Burnett, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. St. Louis had been one of eight teams in the mix for arguably the top left-handed reliever remaining on the market.

With St. Louis no longer involved, Burnett figures to be drawing interest from a group of suitors that includes the Angels, Brewers, and perhaps the Nationals, among others.


Free Agent Rumors: Rolen, Bourn, McCarthy, Drew

A number of free agents have found deals in Nashville this week, but there are still a ton available, including 29 of our top 50. Here's the latest on a few of the remaining options:

  • Scott Rolen remains undecided on whether he'll retire or continue his playing career, his agent tells John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. If Rolen decides he wants to play, Fay believes the Reds could be interested in bringing him back in some role.
  • Former Rockie Ryan Spilborghs is drawing serious interest in Japan, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post (Twitter link).

Earlier updates:

  • The Mariners like Michael Bourn "very much," though the Phillies and Rangers remain in on the speedy outfielder, tweets Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
  • A couple reasons the Angels' interest in Brandon McCarthy has picked up in Nashville are his age (29) and the fact that he likely won't command more than a two-year deal, tweets Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
  • Stephen Drew figures to land at least a two-year deal, which would probably take the Tigers out of the running, says MLB.com's Jason Beck. The Red Sox continue to be in on Drew, however, according to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
  • In their hunt for left-handed relief help, the Cardinals have inquired on Manny Parra and explored what it would take to sign Sean Burnett, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cards are expected to find their man fairly soon, says Goold.
  • Dan Johnson, who was non-tendered by the White Sox last week, is interested in returning to the Rays, but may end up in Japan, tweets Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times.

Angels Close To Deal With Sean Burnett

The Angels are close on free agent lefty Sean Burnett, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

Burnett, 30, had been drawing strong interest as one of the best free agent lefty relievers available this offseason.  He posted a 2.38 ERA, 9.1 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 0.64 HR/9, and 57.4% groundball rate in 56 2/3 innings for the Nationals in 2012.