Jorge Cantu opts out of minor-league deal with Angels

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Considering the Angels’ logjam of first basemen, corner outfielders, and designated hitters Jorge Cantu signing a minor-league deal with them in January was a pretty questionable decision.

Cantu hit .291 with a .788 OPS in 21 games at Triple-A, but with very little chance of getting a call-up barring multiple injuries he decided to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract today and become a free agent again.

Cantu is still just 30 years old, but his lack of plate discipline and defensive chops have always limited him and he’s hit just .242 with a .654 OPS in 184 big-league games dating back to 2010.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.