Options Decisions: Gyorko, Kintzler, Garcia, Morton, Happ, Gardner, and Waiting on Rizzo

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Options Decisions: Gyorko, Kintzler, Garcia, Morton, Happ, Gardner, and Waiting on Rizzo

Chicago Cubs

A whole lot of options decisions rolled in today, and I figured a number were worth rounding up here as we await the biggest one of all.

By that, I mean Anthony Rizzo’s. It turns out, after the ones made today, there aren’t really any remaining options decisions that would absolutely shock you, except for that one. Rizzo’s $16.5 million option would be, by far, the largest option picked up this year if it’s picked up by the Cubs, and yet it would still surprise me – on reflection – if the Cubs declined it. Which isn’t to say I won’t be nervous all weekend waiting for word on what the Cubs are going to do. The decision is due by Sunday night, and I’m crossing my fingers that some kind of unique extension could be worked out.

As for the rest of the decisions, some notable ones today …

In a market that’s going to be crazy deep in veteran relievers, this one goes as a mild surprise rather than a shock:

By contrast, I find this decision fairly surprising:

The Brewers also declined options on Ryan Braun (discussed last night), Eric Sogard, and Ben Gamel (though he’s still controllable via arbitration if the Brewers want).

Each of Kintzler and Gyorko will get big league deals this offseason, I reckon, but I also expect that their tier of free agency – good, useful, veteran, complementary players – will be really rough and might not shake out until January-February.

Cleveland’s decisions here, including Brad Hand (discussed earlier):

This means, by the way, that Hand cleared waivers without any team taking him for that $10 million price tag. Not a single team in MLB wanted a dominant closer for $10 million. Neat.

The White Sox picked up an option today, while declining two obvious ones:

Interestingly, Garcia, 29, is one of those useful complementary types, and the White Sox decided he was worth a $3.25 million decision. His age probably played a part, and he’s also more versatile than Gyorko (Garcia can play shortstop and center field), though he’s not really an above-average hitter. I expect this was still a close call, but at least it gives us another data point.

Another option picked up, though not a surprise, is the $1.5 million deal for reclaimed former Cubs pitching prospect Rafael Dolis, who turned into a stud overseas, and now is a steal for the Blue Jays.

Mostly unsurprising option declines here:

Two Rays free agents:

Morton will be 37 next year, but is probably still quite good. His option was for $15 million (no buyout), and in a normal world, he’d easily be worth that on a one-year deal. Now it’s a question of whether he wants to keep playing, and if so, what kind of deal he can get in this market. So hard to predict, but it seems like almost every team would love to have him at SOME price.

Zunino, 29, remains very good behind the plate, but the offense has just continued to crater. He’s probably a mediocre defense-first back-up at this point, so no surprise that he’s hitting free agency.

Finally, a couple Yankees decisions, declining both JA Happ’s option ($17 million, no buyout) and Brett Gardner’s option ($10 million, $2.5 million buyout). Happ was an obvious one, though he might still find a rotation job somewhere even at age 38. Gardner, 37, was probably a closer call, since he’s still pretty productive (110 or better wRC+ three of the last four years), and is a staple of the Yankees. I would bet on him taking a lesser deal to return.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.