MLB offseason Thread
Two days after losing in the World Series, the Texas Rangers' offseason began in earnest with the news that the club would not exercise Vladimir Guerrero's $9 million option for 2011, making him a free agent.
The move was anticipated given the nature of Guerrero's deal.
General manager Jon Daniels confirmed Wednesday that when the team agreed to terms with Guerrero last summer, the option in his contract was never meant to be exercised. Rather, it was in place to earn the 35-year-old designated hitter a bonus in the form of the $1 million dollar buyout Texas paid to nullify the second year of the deal.
Daniels said the team would like have Guerrero back next season and that the slugger has expressed interest in staying a Ranger.
"I definitely see a scenario where Vlad can be back," Daniels said. "We haven't had a chance to talk about it but we will soon.
"He was huge for us this year, both on the field and in the clubhouse."
Manager Ron Washington, meanwhile, feels confident Guerrero will remain with the Rangers.
"Vlad has expressed interest in coming back and Jon works magic in negotiations," Washington said.
The Erik Bedard experiment in Seattle is over.
The Mariners cut ties with the oft-injured left-hander on Wednesday, declining to exercise an $8 million option for the 2011 season.
Seattle also turned down options on designated hitter Russell Branyan and third baseman Jose Lopez. The Mariners opted to let Branyan go instead of locking him up for next year at $5 million. Lopez would have been due $4.5 million if Seattle exercised its option on him, but he becomes eligible for salary arbitration.
Seattle will pay a $250,000 buyout on Bedard and $500,000 on Branyan, making each a free agent.
Bedard could never stay healthy following his much-hyped trade from Baltimore before the 2008 season. He made just 30 starts in three years with the Mariners and hasn't pitched in a major league game since the middle of the 2009 season. He finished with an 11-7 record and 3.24 ERA in his time with the Mariners, but was sidelined for nearly two full seasons by shoulder problems.
Branyan was reacquired by Seattle in June in a trade with Cleveland. He was a breakout for the Mariners in 2009, hitting a career-high 31 home runs and 76 RBIs, but a bad back made Seattle leery of bringing him back in 2010.
After coming over from Cleveland, Branyan hit 15 homers for Seattle, starting 30 of his 34 games at DH.
Lopez moved from second to third base with the arrival of Chone Figgins in Seattle and proceeded to have the worst offensive year of his career. Lopez hit just .239 and had an on-base percentage of .270. His homers dipped from 25 in 2009 to just 10 last season and RBIs dropped from 96 to 58.
Seattle also sent several players outright to Triple-A Tacoma: left-hander Ryan Feierabend, outfielder Ryan Langerhans, catcher Guillermo Quiroz, left-hander Chris Seddon and right-hander Sean White.
Quiroz and Langerhans refused the a.ssignments and elected to become free agents.
Seattle also claimed right-hander Brian Sweeney off waivers from Arizona, leaving the Mariners 40-man roster at 30.
The New York Mets have exercised their $11 million option on Jose Reyes' contract for the 2011 season.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson says Wednesday that ''a long term deal is not out of the question'' for the injury prone All-Star shortstop.
The 27-year-old Reyes signed a four-year, $23.5 million contract before the 2007 season. The Mets held an option for next year with a $500,000 buyout.
Slowed by a thyroid problem and a side injury, Reyes played 133 games last season after missing all but 36 games with hamstring problems in 2009.
He hit .282, with 10 triples, 11 home runs, 54 RBIs and 30 stolen bases. He made his third All-Star team in eight big league seasons.
Aaron Harang knew it was time to move on.
The Reds declined to exercise their contract option for the right-hander on Wednesday, making him a free agent. The NL Central champions also declined shortstop Orlando Cabrera's option, but decided to keep right-hander Bronson Arroyo and left fielder Jonny Gomes.
The move with Harang was no surprise. His option called for a salary of $12.75 million, too pricey for a pitcher who struggled the last few seasons and lost his spot in the rotation. Instead, the Reds paid a $2 million buyout.
"Obviously it was a high option," Harang told The a.ssociated Press in an interview from his home in San Diego. "With the struggles I've had the past couple years and a few injuries and stuff, I just had a feeling that was going to happen and probably end my tenure with the Reds. It was kind of to be expected.
"It's sad in a way, but I guess maybe it's a way of telling me it's time to move on and go somewhere else and see if I can get things back on track."
The 32-year-old pitcher started his career in Oakland in 2002, came to the Reds in a trade the following year, and was the cornerstone of the rotation during a franchise losing streak that lasted nine years. He went 16-11 in 2006 and 16-6 the following season, even though the lineup was in constant flux.
"It's not easy being on a team where it was like a revolving door in the clubhouse," Harang said. "You didn't have the same teammates all year round. You were just getting to know guys and they'd get sent out and somebody else was coming in. But I went out and tried to do my best with what I'd have behind me."
His performance fell off the last three years. Harang went 6-17 in 2008, 6-14 the following year. He made his fifth straight opening day start last season, but back spasms cost him two months. He struggled when he returned and was demoted to the bullpen.
Manager Dusty Baker allowed him to start the final regular season game against Milwaukee, a gesture that touched Harang. He dabbed away tears after the game.
"I think it was kind of a way of informally letting me know that I probably wouldn't be back," said Harang, who was forced to leave in the third inning because of a blister. "But it was a nice gesture on Dusty's part, getting me out there to get a send-off. He gave me a copy of the final game card, stuff like that. It's a good memory to be able to leave Cincinnati that way."
Harang finished with a 6-7 record and a 5.32 ERA.