The Rays reached decisions on their three option calls Monday afternoon, exercising the $7.5 million option on James Shields’ contract and the $3.3 million option on Kyle Farnsworth’s deal.
Declined was Kelly Shoppach’s $3.2 million option. He’ll get a $300,000 buyout.
Shields’ option was a no-brainer. The Rays also hold options on his services for 2013 ($9 million) and 2014 ($12 million). Shields went 16-12 with a 2.82 ERA last season. He led the majors with 11 complete games and he was second in the AL in innings (249 1/3) and third in ERA.
Farnsworth’s option was also a pretty easy call after he finished with a 2.18 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP in 57 2/3 innings as the team’s closer. It’s doubtful that he’ll be so good again, but for $3.3 million, it’s well worth bringing him back. Plus, the Rays would have had to pay him $650,000 anyway had they declined the option.
Shoppach gets let go despite a late surge that saw him hit four homers in 29 at-bats during September and two more against the Rangers in the ALDS. Shoppach, though, was pretty brutal overall during his two years in Tampa Bay, hitting .185 in 379 at-bats. That did come with 16 homers, but even so, he drove in just 39 runs.
A solid defensive catcher, Shoppach shouldn’t have much difficulty finding work, but he’s probably looking at a paycut to the $1.5 million-$2 million range. The Rays figure to seek a catcher upgrade this winter, though they could re-sign Shoppach if nothing else comes to fruition.
Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.
In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.
Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”
Here’s the video.
The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.
The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.
Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.
Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.