It has been a while since we checked in on the 2017 vesting options that will be decided by the 2016 stat sheets. With all quiet elsewhere, it seemed like an opportune time for an update:
- Coco Crisp ($13MM option vests at 550 plate appearances or 130 games played in 2016): It has been an up and down year for the veteran, who currently owns an adequate but ultimately just-below-average .235/.301/.406 batting line on the year. He has reached 420 plate appearances in 98 games, so it would take something approaching everyday playing time for the option to vest. Crisp recently accused the A’s of tamping down his playing time to avoid just that possibility. From an outside perspective, it does seem that there are legitimate reasons unrelated to the vesting clause to justify less-than-regular action for Crisp — he hasn’t played all that well and the team reasonably hopes to see younger players in action — though the A’s undoubtedly have that consideration in mind as well. Regardless of the precise reason, it’s all but inconceivable to think that Oakland will allow that stack of cash to become guaranteed.
- Matt Holliday ($17MM option vests with Top 10 finish in MVP voting): This one was always a longshot to vest, and it became increasingly apparent over the year that Holliday was posting a solid — but hardly MVP worthy — campaign. Still, his recent injury put the final nail in the coffin for all but theoretical chances at landing inside the top ten. Accordingly, the Cards will face a difficult decision on the veteran outfielder, who is still an above-average hitter but has shown signs of decline.
- Chris Iannetta ($6MM option vests with 100 games started in 2016): Iannetta’s option was trending strongly towards vesting when we last looked, but things have changed with the re-emergence of Mike Zunino in Seattle. Iannetta would need to start 22 games to pick up the $6MM guarantee, but he has only appeared in seven contests thus far in the month of August. Iannetta has also seen his production drop; he currently owns a .218/.310/.343 batting line. Whether or not Seattle has any interest in picking up that tab remains to be seen, but it probably won’t make it to the club’s books by operation of the vesting provision.
- Yusmeiro Petit ($3MM option vests with 80 innings pitched in 2016): The likeliest path to this option vesting was for a need to arise to utilize Petit as a temporary rotation piece. While he has made one spot start and some other lengthy appearances, though, Petit has only compiled 55 frames to date — making it quite unlikely that the clause will vest. (Realistically, it would probably take multiple rotation injuries.) That being said, he has done everything the Nats hoped he would, carrying a 3.27 ERA with 6.7 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9, and still seems rather likely to have the option exercised regardless.
- CC Sabathia ($25MM option vests if he does not end season on DL with shoulder injury or miss 45+ games in 2016 due to shoulder injury): Sabathia’s season has taken a turn for the worst since the last time we checked in about two months ago. His results are looking more like those of disappointing recent years than the bounceback first half. But Sabathia has still shown no signs of shoulder problems, so with less than 45 days left to go on the season, it doesn’t seem there’s any way for the Yanks to get out from under this big tab.
- Kurt Suzuki ($6MM option vests with 485 plate appearances in 2016): The 32-year-old has 303 plate appearances of league-average offensive production, which bodes reasonably well for his free agent case but doesn’t set him up for another year in Minnesota by way of the vesting clause. It is all but official: Suzuki is headed to the open market.
As noted in the original update, both Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn had vesting options for the 2017 season as well, but those options were negated when each was released from the four-year contracts they initially signed with the Indians.