Add another name to the lengthy list of free agent closer-types.
While the Blue Jays announced their decision today to pick up Edwin Encarnacion’s $3.5 million option for 2012, they also declined Jon Rauch’s $3.75 million option.
Rauch, who qualifies as a Type B free agent, will receive a $250,000 buyout. The 33-year-old right-hander posted a 4.85 ERA, 11 saves and a 36/14 K/BB ratio over 52 innings this season before undergoing surgery on his right knee in September. Frank Francisco will also be a free agent this winter, so the Blue Jays figure to have a new closer in 2012.
As for Encarnacion, his return was expected. The 28-year-old is still a man without a position, but he batted .272/.334/.453 with 17 home runs this season, including 11 homers and an .887 OPS during an impressive second half surge. Assuming Alex Anthopoulos doesn’t attempt to sign David Ortiz, Encarnacion should serve as the primary designated hitter in 2012.
The substance of the report is not shocking. Francisco Lindor is one of baseball’s brightest young stars and the Cleveland Indians would, no doubt, wish to lock him up for an extended period of time. The surprising part is the guy who reported that, yes, the Indians are working to get Lindor a seven-year extension.
That guy: six-year-old Brody Chernoff, son of Indians general manager Mike Chernoff. Brody was invited into the team’s broadcast booth during the ninth inning of their game against the Chicago White Sox. Indians announcer Tom Hamilton asked, no doubt jokingly, if his working on anything interesting. Brody:
“He’s trying to get, um, Lindor to play for seven more years,”
Again, not shocking. It would’ve been way worse if Brody had said “Dad’s working on a three-way deal that’ll send Naquin to an NL team in order to affect a three-way trade that’ll land us Verlander without having to deal directly with a divisional rival.” But I imagine Dad still would’ve preferred he not mention that.
Bill Whitehead of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves have signed reliever David Hernandez to a minor league contract on Sunday. He’ll report to spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Hernandez, who turns 32 years old in May, signed a minor league contract with the Giants in February. He requested and was granted his release on Friday when he learned he wasn’t making the team’s 25-man roster to open the season.
Hernandez pitched for the Phillies last year. He compiled a 3.84 ERA with an 80/32 K/BB ratio in 72 2/3 innings.