With option decisions due by midnight Monday, teams are beginning to make things official. We’ll have all of the transactions as they stream in.
Here are some obvious ones.
According to the Associated Press, via the New York Post, the Brewers have declined a $17.5 million mutual option on right-hander Francisco Rodriguez, paying him a $4 million buyout instead.
Rodriguez posted a strong 2.64 ERA and 79/26 K/BB ratio in 71 2/3 innings this season between the Mets and Brewers, and he should draw many suitors on the open market this winter, but $17.5 million is a pretty penny for any reliever — no matter how dominant.
The Brewers also declined a $6 million option on shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt. He has slugged a total of 29 home runs over the past two seasons, but he’s a poor defender and owns a pitiful .292 career on-base percentage. The next team to give him a try should strongly consider a position change.
Rays’ right fielder Steven Souza Jr. left Saturday’s game after getting hit on the left hand by a pitch from Blue Jays’ right-hander Joe Biagini in the seventh inning. The pitch appeared to hit the top of Souza Jr.’s hand, causing the outfielder to crumple at the plate and requiring assistance from assistant athletic trainer Paul Harker as he exited the field. Postgame reports from the Tampa Bay Times’ Marc Topkin revealed that Souza Jr. sustained a left hand contusion and is scheduled to undergo further evaluation on Sunday.
While the diagnosis isn’t as bad as it could be, it’s still a tough break for the right fielder, who missed 40 days of the 2015 season after sustaining a fracture in his left hand on another hit by pitch. The team has yet to announce any concrete timetable for Souza Jr.’s return, though manager Kevin Cash indicated that they’ll be taking things day to day for the time being.
Souza Jr. is batting .326/.398/.543 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 104 PA in 2017. He went 1-for-2 with a base hit and a walk prior to his departure during Saturday’s 4-1 loss.
It’s been a slow start to the season for Yankees’ outfielder Brett Gardner, who entered Saturday’s matinee against the Orioles with a .188/.316/.234 batting line, three doubles and five stolen bases in his first 76 PA of the year. That all changed in the first inning of Saturday’s game, when Gardner skied a leadoff home run to right field:
Orioles’ right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez couldn’t find his footing against the Yankees in the second inning, either. Gardner returned for his second home run of the season, a three-run shot to lift New York 5-0 over Baltimore:
Measured at 411 feet in the right field bullpen, the left fielder’s blast marked the seventh home run hit by a Yankee this series. According to the club’s PR department, it’s also the first multi-home run game Gardner has recorded since September 2015. The Yankees currently lead the Orioles 7-0 through four innings.