Royals decline options on Crisp, Olivo, Yabuta

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Kansas City jumped into the option-related fun being had across baseball today by declining 2010 options on Coco Crisp, Miguel Olivo, and Yasuhiko Yabuta.
Acquired from the Red Sox for reliever Ramon Ramirez last winter, Crisp hit just .228/.336/.378 before undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum in late June.
He’s not a sure thing to be fully healthy by spring training and either way choosing a $500,000 buyout over an $8 million option was an easy call. Ramirez, incidentally, went 7-4 with a 2.84 ERA in 69.2 innings for the Red Sox while making less than Crisp earned from the buyout.
Parting ways with Olivo is a more interesting decision. He batted .255/.278/.444 in 84 games last year, at which point the Royals re-signed him for $2.7 million. Now after hitting .249/.292/.490 in 114 games this season–a 60-point OPS jump in significantly more playing time–the Royals have opted against bringing him back for $3.3 million.
If he was worth $2.7 million then he’s certainly worth $3.3 million now, but perhaps the Royals finally (and smartly) got tired of watching him making an out 75 percent of the time.

José Ramirez’s 17-pitch at-bat kickstarts Indians’ five-run comeback in ninth inning

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With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.

Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.

After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.