Yesterday was the first day of the offseason, and, thus, teams and players started making a bunch of their option decisions for 2015, which are due by Monday, November 3. The Cubs made one of their two outstanding option decisions, declining Kyuji Fujikawa’s $5.5 million option, as expected. No word yet on what the Cubs will do with Tsuyoshi Wada’s $5 million option, which I previously discussed as perhaps a tougher call. The fact that the Cubs didn’t immediately make a decision, as they did with Fujikawa, could indicate that they’re still mulling it over (though they’ve obviously had plenty of time to know how they valued Wada), or it could suggest they’re feeling out the market for Wada in trade. Do other teams think he’s worth $5 million in 2015? If so, the Cubs might want to wait until the last minute to make a decision, and could wind up picking up the option on Monday, and trading Wada to a team that is willing to give up a little (probably very little) something for him.
I’m not going to get into every single option decision, but, among the notable and/or relevant options decisions made yesterday (and not yet made):
- As expected, the Nationals wasted no time in picking up Denard Span’s $9 million option for 2015. The real question now is whether they shop him, and whether a team like the Cubs – lefty lead-off type bat in the outfield? one-year commitment? – would be interested.
- The Rockies have a $12.5 million option on oft-injury, but oft-awesome lefty Brett Anderson. It comes with a $1.5 million buyout, so the actual decision for the Rockies: is Anderson worth a one-year, $11 million commitment, given all the injuries? I tentatively expect the Rockies to decline the option (no surprise, though, that they didn’t make a decision right away, because they could try and shop him first). If they do, Anderson is very much a guy I’d like to see the Cubs pursue on a short-term commitment. Yes, injuries. But, man, the guy is 26, has been very effective when healthy, and the injuries seem to be somewhat flukey. If you could get him on a one-year, $6 million deal with a team option for 2016 at, say, $10 million with a $2 million buyout (trying to make it realistic, because he’s not going to give up that option year without it coming at a decent price and with a decent buyout attached), you just have to do it. That’s an $8 million roll of the dice that could wind up providing you an excellent starter for two years and just $16 million.
- The Brewers picked up their $13 million option with Yovani Gallardo, which had become expected. It doesn’t seem likely that the Brewers will shop him, given how relatively crowded the pitching market has become (and how Gallardo has very little surplus value at this point).
- The Cardinals picked up their $500,000 option on John Lackey, which obviously. He had that option tacked on to the end of his previous contract with the Red Sox because of a prior elbow injury, and, after this year’s trade, the Cardinals are the ones who benefit.
- The Padres decided not to pick up their $4 million option on injury-prone righty Josh Johnson. They may figure out a way to keep him around for less, or he could become some other team’s low-probability lottery ticket. Johnson, 30, is currently recovering from April Tommy John surgery.
- I’m very interested to see what happens with the Blue Jays and Brandon Morrow ($10 million team option, $1 million buyout). The 30-year-old righty has dealt with injury issues the last two years, but, when he’s been healthy, the peripherals have been solid, and he’s still flashing upper-90s heat. Do the struggles and the injuries of the last two years temper enthusiasm? Definitely. But the bones there are very interesting, especially on a guy who may have to settle for a prove-it deal.