Matt Belisle

A mutual option was mutually exercised

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This doesn’t happen often; mutual options are usually attached to contracts for the buyout, which allows a team to give a player a bit more guaranteed money without having to actual make the payout anytime soon. They’re hardly ever exercised, because how often is it that a team and a player are going to completely agree on what said player is worth a year or two ahead of time?

But today, lo and behold, a mutual option was exercised by both sides and setup man Matt Belisle will stay with the Rockies for $4.25 million.

Had the Rockies declined their half, they would have paid Belisle a $250,000 buyout. Belisle’s option was tacked on to a two-year, $8.125 million deal the two sides agreed to in Feb. 2012.

The 33-year-old Belisle went 5-7 with a 4.32 ERA in 73 innings of relief last season. He’s made at least 70 relief appearances and pitched at least 70 innings in four straight seasons, amassing a nifty 3.52 ERA during that time frame.  It should be noted that his ERAs have increased three straight years, but since his peripherals were better last season than in 2012, it doesn’t look like a total free fall.  The Rockies aren’t bringing back injured ex-closer Rafael Betancourt and they have no other relievers making significant cash, so they felt they could spend the $4 million to keep their durable setup guy around.

Nationals fire reigning Manager of the Year Matt Williams

Washington Nationals' manager Matt Williams looks on from the dugout during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Friday, May 2, 2014, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson)

Matt Williams was voted the National League Manager of the Year on November 11, 2014, receiving 18 of 30 first-place votes from Baseball Writers Association of America members.

Today the Nationals fired him following a season full of disappointment, reports of clubhouse discontent, and Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper in the dugout.

Williams went 179-145 (.552) in two seasons in Washington, which is an excellent winning percentage, but when you take over a stacked team the expectations are extremely high and there was seemingly nothing anyone could point to about his actual managing that suggested he was doing a good job.

His in-game tactics and particularly his rigid bullpen usage patterns infuriated fans. His dealings with the local media became increasingly antagonistic. And even setting aside two players literally fighting in the dugout there’s ample evidence that Williams lost the clubhouse a long time ago.

Williams was far from the only thing wrong with the Nationals this season and he’s hardly the primary person to blame for their disappointing record, but it’s also hard to make a strong case for his sticking around–meaningless, beat writer-voted award or not–and general manager Mike Rizzo predictably acted quickly to move on.

Now we’ll see who gets to take the next crack at managing the Nationals to play up to expectations.

Dan Haren plans to retire after the playoffs are over

Dan Haren
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Dan Haren, who said two months ago that he was leaning toward retiring after the season, reiterated those plans following the Cubs’ regular season finale Sunday.

At age 34 he started 32 games for the Marlins and Cubs with a 3.60 ERA and 132/38 K/BB ratio in 187 innings, so Haren would have no problem finding work and a solid paycheck for 2016.

However, he’s not expected to part of the Cubs’ playoff roster and told Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago:

That was it for me. If I have to pitch in the postseason, I’ll be ready for sure. Happy the way the last few starts have gone. Being able to contribute to this amazing team. I’m just thankful to be a part of it. If I don’t pitch in the postseason, that’s it. It’s been fun. Hopefully there’s a lot more games to go. … If my name is called, I’ll be ready.

Injuries has lessened Haren’s overall effectiveness in recent years, but he’s remained a solid mid-rotation starter and has pitched 13 seasons in the big leagues with a 3.75 ERA in 2,419 innings. He made three All-Star teams and earned more than $80 million.