Daily Dose: Jays Keep JanssenFriday, November 01, 2013
It's been a whole 24 hours since the final baseball game of the 2013 season, so let's take some time to decompress and reflect on the year that was.
Alright, that's enough.
The games might be done, but baseball doesn't sleep. Free agency opens on November 5 and everything will start up again, with players changing addresses and uniforms. The winter meetings, when trade winds blow strong, start on December 9. And the Rule 5 Draft, in which players such as Jose Bautista and Josh Hamilton have been chosen in years past, will take place on December 12. Yes, it never ends.
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And even with David Ortiz' blood alcohol content still above the legal limit, teams were making moves to get ready for next season. Let's take a look at some of the cuts and contracts handed out Thursday.
Janssen, Lind Exercised
Two of the bigger moves made on Thursday were by the team north of the border, the Blue Jays. The Jays exercised team options on closer Casey Janssen and first baseman Adam Lind. Janssen had a $4 million option; Lind's was for $7 million.
In the 32-year-old Janssen, the Jays keep a guy who saved 34 games last season. Over his last two seasons the right-hander has a 0.92 WHIP, 2.55 ERA and 117/24 K/BB ratio over 116 1/3 innings. Although not the picture of prudent spending, the Dodgers gave "closer" Brandon League a three-year, $22.5 million deal last offseason, so $4 million for a pitcher who's actually effective is a coup for the Jays.
A year ago the Jays wouldn't have been exercising any option on their 30-year-old first baseman. Coming off a year in which he hit .255/.314/.414, Lind rebounded to post his strongest season since his breakout 2009 campaign. Lind hit 23 home runs while posting a .288/.357/.497 line in 2013 and will enter 2014 as the Jays' starting first baseman. He won't be the same value play he was this season, but he'll still be on the first baseman radar in deeper leagues.
Among the other unsurprising options picked up on Thursday were the Royals exercising their $13.5 million option on ace James Shields and the Marlins keeping Jacob Turner around for $1 million. Turner is an especially tremendous value, as the 22-year-old posted a 3.64 ERA in 160 2/3 innings last season.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.
That's what the Indians wrote in the card they gave Chris Perez, probably, after the team cut the reliever loose on Thursday. Perez made $7.3 million in 2013 and was due another arbitration raise this season. He was a non-tender candidate, but the Indians saved the suspense.
It marks the end of an up-and-down relationship between Perez and the club. As recently as 2012 Perez was saving 39 games and striking out over a batter per inning. But Perez struggled to a 4.33 ERA and 1.43 WHIP this year and ran into some legal troubles when he was found to have had a package of marijuana shipped to his house. In the end, the 28-year-old's off-field issues coupled with his middling production on the field proved to be too much for the club. It almost certainly won't be the last we hear from Perez.
A couple World Series winners from 2011 also had their options declined by their respective teams on Thursday. Lance Berkman had his $12 million option declined by the Rangers and Jake Westbrook's $9.5 million option was also turned down. Both players are believed to be contemplating retirement.
One of the biggest impacts on free agency will be which players receive qualifying offers from their former teams. On Thursday, it came out that some clubs plan to offer their departing players a qualifying deal while others are set to let their free agents walk.
Jason Vargas is not expected to receive a $14.1 million offer from the Angels, while A.J. Burnett will "in all likelihood" receive -- and accept -- a similar offer from the Pirates. The Red Sox, fresh off their World Series parade, are also set to offer Stephen Drew a qualifying offer to keep him in Boston. If nothing else, the offer may make it difficult for Drew to catch on anywhere else, as any team that signs the shortstop will sacrifice a first-round pick in the process.
National League Quick Hits: MLB.com's Tom Singer also said Pirates GM Neal Huntington will "push hard" to re-sign Marlon Byrd and Clint Barmes before other teams are able to negotiate with them. That's not the case for Justin Morneau, who doesn't expect an offer before hitting the free agent market. Byrd is in for a nice payday after hitting .291/.336/.511 this season ... the Dodgers declined their $6 million option on Chris Capuano and $5.75 million option on Mark Ellis. Ellis' departure could signal the start of the Alexander Guerrero era in LA ... the Phillies are said to have an interest in free agent outfielder Nelson Cruz. Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo and Curtis Granderson are also on the Phillies radar ... the Nationals officially named Matt Williams their next manager.
American League Quick Hits: Jacoby Ellsbury will have at least 10 other suitors aside from the Phillies, according to his agent Scott Boras. Ellsbury's deal will likely soar well above the $100 million mark ... the Blue Jays weren't done with Janssen and Lind, as they also exercised their option on Mark DeRosa while declining an option on Munenori Kawasaki. Kawasaki could be back on a minor-league deal ... the Mariners interviewed Dave Valle for their managerial vacancy this week ... Jason Giambi re-signed with the Indians on a minor-league deal. He's not a regular anymore, but the Indians like his clubhouse presence ... the White Sox exercised their $4 million option on Matt Lindstrom.