Placed on waivers by the A’s following a rough season, right-hander Dan Otero has been claimed by the Phillies.
Otero was very effective in 2013 and 2014, throwing a total of 126 innings with a 2.01 ERA and 72/21 K/BB ratio, but he fell apart this year while allowing 35 runs in 47 innings for the A’s in a middle relief role.
Otero lacks impressive raw stuff, but he’s an extreme strike-thrower with just 1.4 walks per nine innings for his career and at age 31 could stick with the Phillies as an inexpensive bullpen piece.
Despite finishing this season on the disabled list Clay Buchholz will be back with the Red Sox in 2016, as the team exercised its $13 million option on the right-hander.
Buchholz missed most of July and all of August and September with an elbow injury, logging just 113 innings. Before being shut down he was very good, posting a 3.26 ERA and 107/23 K/BB ratio in 18 starts, but Buchholz’s year-to-year performance has been wildly inconsistent and durability has always been an issue.
Of course, by picking up his 2016 option the Red Sox are essentially signing him to a one-year, $13 million deal that also includes an option for 2017, which is very reasonable for a team in need of rotation help.
Toronto exercised a trio of 2016 options, bringing back right fielder Jose Bautista, designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion, and right-hander R.A. Dickey for next season.
Bautista at $14 million and Encarnacion at $10 million were no-brainers, but Dickey at $12 million may have required some thought. He’s been no better than a mid-rotation starter in three seasons with the Blue Jays, posting ERAs of 4.21, 3.71, and 3.91.
Durability is Dickey’s biggest strength at this point and certainly $12 million for a good but not great starting pitcher is around the going rate, but at age 41 it’s possible buying the knuckleballer out for $1 million was a consideration.
Toronto did decline its $3 million option on Maicer Izturis, parting ways with the 35-year-old infielder for a $1 million buyout after an injury wrecked season.
Cliff Lee is officially a free agent, as the Phillies declined the former Cy Young winner’s $27.5 million option for 2016 and instead paid him a $12.5 million buyout.
Lee missed all of 2015 after suffering a torn flexor tendon in spring training and was also limited to just 13 starts in 2014. At age 37 it’s hard to imagine Lee securing a guaranteed multi-year contract on the open market, but contending teams might pursue him with incentive-laden one-year deals. However, because he opted not to undergo surgery Lee may simply retire.
Lee went 41-30 with a 2.89 ERA in 106 starts during his second go-around with the Phillies after signing a five-year, $120 million deal in December of 2010.
Ron Gardenhire finished runner-up to manage the Padres, who chose 38-year-old rookie manager Andy Green over the 58-year-old Gardenhire and his 13 seasons of experience with the Twins.
However, the Padres would still like Gardenhire involved in the team and Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that they’ve offered him the bench coach job on Green’s staff.
Gardenhire clearly wants to manage again, applying for no fewer than four jobs in the past few months and getting interviews at several places, but it’s unclear if he’s willing to take a coaching job under a rookie manager who beat him out for a gig.
On an unrelated note: I dressed up as Gardenhire for Halloween and the most common reaction I got at a party in Minneapolis was sadness that no other teams seem to want him as their manager, which is a very Minnesotan thing for sure.