Reds’ $12 million options: Brandon Phillips picked up, Francisco Cordero declined

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Cincinnati has exercised its $12 million option on second baseman Brandon Phillips, but made closer Francisco Cordero a free agent by declining his $12 million option.

Cordero will get a $1 million buyout instead and joins an already crowded closer market, although the Reds have repeatedly indicated that they’d like to re-sign him for a lesser salary. Cordero had 37 saves and a nice-looking 2.45 ERA, but also posted by far the worst strikeout rate of his career at age 36.

Phillips is a no-brainer for $12 million, so the bigger question will be whether the Reds make a significant effort to sign him beyond 2012. Phillips is one season away from a big payday as a free agent and the 30-year-old has said he’s not interested in giving Cincinnati a hometown discount.

Hyun-Jin Ryu will open season in Dodgers’ rotation

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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts announced on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu will open the regular season in the starting rotation, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports.

Ryu, 30, missed the entire 2015 season and made only one start last season due to shoulder and elbow injuries. The lefty has looked solid in three spring appearances, however, yielding a lone run on five hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings.

With Scott Kazmir likely to begin the season on the disabled list, that leaves Alex Wood and Brandon McCarthy to battle it out for the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.

Jorge Soler diagnosed with strained oblique, Opening Day in doubt

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Royals outfielder Jorge Soler has been diagnosed with a strained oblique, making it likely that he begins the regular season on the disabled list, Rustin Dodd of The Kansas City Star reports.

The Royals acquired Soler from the Cubs in December in exchange for reliever Wade Davis. Over parts of three seasons with the Cubs, Soler hit .258/.328/.434 with 27 home runs and 98 RBI in 765 plate appearances.

When he’s healthy, Soler is expected to find himself in the Royals’ lineup as a right fielder and occasionally as a designated hitter.