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.
Update (5:04 PM EST): The White Sox will receive pitchers Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Dane Dunning from the Nationals, per Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago. MLB Pipeline rated them No. 1, 3, and 6 in the Nationals’ minor league system.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that the Nationals are close to acquiring outfielder Adam Eaton from the White Sox. He notes that outfielder Victor Robles, the Nationals’ No. 2 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is not included in the deal.
Eaton, 28, is signed to a very team-friendly contract. He’ll earn $4 million in 2017, $6 million in ’18, and $8.4 million in ’19. His controlling team then has a club option worth $9.5 million in 2020 with a $1.5 million buyout and a $10.5 million club option in ’21 with a $1.5 million buyout.
This past season, Eaton was worth 3.9 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference after playing significantly above-average defense while batting .284/.362/.428 with 14 home runs, 59 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 14 stolen bases in 706 plate appearances.
If the deal goes through, the Nationals would move Trea Turner from center field to shortstop. Meanwhile, the White Sox continue their teardown after trading Chris Sale to the Red Sox on Tuesday.
ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that the Marlins have signed veteran catcher A.J. Ellis to a one-year, $2.5 million deal.
Ellis, 35, began the 2016 season with the Dodgers but went to the Phillies in the Carlos Ruiz trade near the end of August. Overall, he hit .216/.301/.298 in 196 plate appearances.
Ellis will back up J.T. Realmuto behind the dish.