The Diamondbacks are declining their 2021 options over right-handers Mike Leake, Hector Rondon and Junior Guerra, general manager Mike Hazen announced to reporters (Twitter link via Steve Gilbert of MLB.com). Leake’s five-year, $80MM contract (originally signed with the Cardinals) carried an $18MM club option with a $5MM buyout. Rondon’s one-year, $3MM deal included a $4MM club option that will instead be bought out for $500K. Guerra’s $3.5MM club option is being bought out for $100K, but he’ll remain under club control via arbitration.
Leake, who’ll turn 33 in a couple weeks, didn’t pitch in 2020 after becoming the first of several veterans to opt out of the season due to health and safety concerns. He made 10 starts for the D-backs in 2019 after coming over from the Mariners via trade, pitching to a 4.35 ERA with a 27-to-8 K/BB ratio in 60 innings.
Leake’s five-year deal didn’t at all go how the Cardinals envisioned — they ate a sizable portion of the deal to facilitate a trade to Seattle just a year and a half into the contract — but he was rather solid from 2017-19 under the deal. Leake made 94 starts in that time and logged a collective 4.19 ERA through 568 2/3 frames. He’s never been one to miss many bats, but Leake typically has excellent control and ranked sixth among all MLB pitchers in games started from 2011-19.
Rondon, once the Cubs closer, enjoyed a solid 2018-19 run with the Astros before scuffling through a disastrous 2020 season in Arizona. He tallied 20 innings of work but was clobbered for a 7.65 ERA in what will go down as his lone season with the team. In those 20 frames, Rondon yielded 17 earned runs on 25 hits (six homers) 11 walks with 23 strikeouts. He still has a career 3.49 ERA and 3.63 FIP even in spite of this year’s woeful results, so he should be able to get another look somewhere in 2021, his age-33 season — though it’d likely have to come on a non-guaranteed deal.
Guerra, who’ll turn 36 in January, notched a tidy 3.04 ERA in 23 innings this past season, although his 21-to-15 K/BB ratio and 5.03 SIERA tell another story. Guerra was a frequent contributor for the Brewers prior to signing in Arizona, as he pitched to a combined 3.78 ERA in 416 2/3 frames with Milwaukee from 2016-19. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projected a possible $2.8MM salary for Guerra via arbitration, and if the D-backs feel similarly, it’s not a surprise that they opted not to pay the full freight of his 2021 option.
This market is going to be flooded! Just wait until all the non-tender guys hit as teams struggle with payroll.
Former Oakland A’s owner Charlie Finleys quote from the mid 1970’s is now sort of coming to fruition: “let them all be free agents!”
‘Tis the season for non-tenders and declining options. There are going to be some bargains out there this year from all of these non-tendered players, but it’s really going to piss off the MLBPA. Looks like a work stoppage is coming after the 2021 season…such a bummer!
The CBA negotiations are going to be an event that is for sure!
I’m not going to lie, I kind of feel for Manfred… sure he screwed up the Astros cheating scandal massively but I kind of felt he was on the right path as far as getting ahead of the CBA negotiations. After the 2020 season there is so much bad blood between the MLPA and the owners and this “dry” market is only going to add fuel to the fire.
Leake would be a nice fit anywhere as a back end guy but I like him a lot in Atlanta. He needs a good defense behind him.
We won’t be able to keep up with our snarky comments at the rate these cuts are coming!
Guerra is the interesting one. Arbitration panels don’t cut salaries, so they’re banking on signing him somewhere between his $2,550,000 salary and the $3.4M salary, subtracting the 100K buyout. These teams are now looking to save a few hundred K.
It is possible they simply won’t offer him arbitration and will try and sign him at an even lower salary.
I’m quite sure they will refuse arbitration and give him his release. Arbitration will pay him much more than he’ll get on the open market, including a new deal with Arizona.
Rondon’s a good bounce back candidate
Peart of the game
He’ll likely do better in the NPB contractwise.
I could see Boston taking a flyer on Rondon. The Cubs too.
The Marlins wanted him this last season. He was apparently one of his choices now. So maybe he can be their next reclamation project like Boxberger
I could see the Orioles take a chance on Rondon
Chief Two Hands
I can’t see the Orioles at all. I consistently forget that team is in the league.
Ducky Buckin Fent
I’m interested to see how guys that opted out – like Leake – are perceived around the league.
I know all the player soundbites were positive; i.e. “we support his decision blahblahblah”. But, those of you who have been in locker rooms know what they’re like.
I think a lot of these guys are going to be viewed askance as players who (kinda) quit on their teams and teammates.