Near the end of May, MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk provided readers with an update on all the known 2019 vesting options. As he mentioned at that time, some options of this kind go unreported, so we’ll examine the list below with the caveat that it could potentially be incomplete.
A vesting option is a clause in a player’s contract that can change the structure of the deal by guaranteeing him an additional year under contract; these are usually triggered when a player meets certain plate appearance thresholds and/or is healthy at season’s end.
Here’s where those six players stand…
Seunghwan Oh: The South Korea native is just one relief appearance away from triggering the clause in his contract that’ll turn his $2.5MM club option (with a $250K buyout) into a guarantee. Oh, 36, originally signed his contract with the Blue Jays, where he began the season strong and was ultimately flipped to the Rockies prior to July’s non-waiver trade deadline. On the whole, he’s whiffed 10.19 batters per nine while walking just 2.34 per nine en route to a tidy 2.76 ERA. With the Rockies in the midst of a pennant chase, Oh is sure to get his 70th appearance on the season at some point in the coming days.
Will Not Vest
Hanley Ramirez: HanRam started the season hot, but after posting a .874 OPS in April, he mustered just a .500 OPS the month following en route to being designated for assignment on May 24th (just four days after out last vesting options update). What was once an intriguing situation to watch had the mystery taken out of it abruptly, and Ramirez hasn’t played in the bigs since.
Cole Hamels: The resurgent lefty has been a welcome sight for a Cubs rotation that didn’t get any semblance of what they hoped for from Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood. Since being acquired from the Rangers at the trade deadline, he’s tossed 63 1/3 innings of 2.42 ERA ball. That brings him to just 177 2/3 IP on the season, however, which will fall well short of the towering 252 figure he needs for his vesting option to trigger. Per the terms of a deal he originally signed with the Phillies, Hamels’ $20MM club option ($6MM buyout) would have morphed into a one-year, $24MM pact if he managed to throw 200 innings this season and 400 total from 2017-2018, all while ending the season without any shoulder or elbow injuries requiring a DL placement. Hamels took the mound for just 148 innings last season, so while he’s been pretty good in Chicago, hopes of achieving his vesting option threshold were little more than a pipe dream to begin with.
Brian McCann: McCann was already fighting an uphill battle in his attempts to reach his 1,000th plate appearance across the 2017-2018 season (a threshold which would have triggered his vesting option). At the outset of 2018, he needed a career-high 601 PA, and after undergoing knee surgery that knocked him out of the lineup for all of July and August, his chances of achieving that lofty goal were squelched entirely.
Ervin Santana: We had already written off any chance of Santana’s option vesting all the way back in May, when he hadn’t yet taken the field due to finger injury issues. While he did manage to get back to the mound for five starts, he’d have needed 200 innings in order to qualify for a $14MM guarantee in 2019. That was never going to happen for a pitcher who made his season debut on July 25th.
Logan Morrison: After a promising 2017 season that saw Morrison launch a career-high 38 bombs, the lefty-hitting first baseman was unable to find a team willing to buy into his newfound success. The Twins, however, gave him a one-year pact with a $8MM club option for 2019 ($1MM buyout) that would vest if he took 600 trips to the plate. Unfortunately, Morrison’s performance has taken a considerable downturn this season; that dive can largely be attributed to nagging hip issues that ultimately necessitated season-ending surgery. During that procedure, he had a torn labrum repaired and a bone spur removed. That, of course, took the possibility of triggering his vesting option off the table, as his plate appearance total sits at just 359 on the year.