The Indians announced that they’ve declined their $3MM club option on Ryan Raburn for the 2016 season. The outfielder will instead be paid a $100K buyout and hit the open market.
Raburn, 35 next April, will be cut loose despite an outstanding season in which he batted .301/.393/.543 with eight home runs in 201 plate appearances. Raburn’s gaudy numbers are the result of extreme platooning; he saw just 25 plate appearances against right-handed pitching this season but picked up 176 PAs against lefties, raking to the tune of a .325/.415/.589 batting line when holding the platoon advantage. In fact, Raburn was so potent against lefties in 2015 that only Nelson Cruz, Mike Trout and Joey Votto ranked above him in weighted runs created plus (wRC+), per Fangraphs (minimum 150 plate appearances).
Though he’s no longer an option at second base as he was earlier in his career — just 17 innings there since Opening Day 2013 — Raburn will draw plenty of interest as a platoon corner outfield option on the open market this winter. He’s hit lefties well throughout his entire career, batting .264/.339/.487 over the life of a 10-year Major League career.
Via MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian (Twitter link), president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti offered the following statement on the Raburn decision: “I think there were a lot of factors that went into play with the decision. I don’t think any one carried the day. It doesn’t take away from what Ryan accomplished and the success he’s had with us. We just felt, given the timing of where we are right now, we just wanted to try to have a little more flexibility as we head into the offseason.”