Neck injury could force Casey Blake into retirement

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Casey Blake’s latest injury is a pinched nerve in his neck, which has caused him to miss four straight games, and the 37-year-old is thinking ahead to how it could impact his health long after retiring from baseball.

“Obviously, this neck thing is pretty serious,” Blake told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. “I want to be able to move my neck when I’m 50.

Blake has played just 58 of 126 games this season, posting a career-worst .704 OPS and spending three different stints on the disabled list.

He’ll be a free agent this offseason once the Dodgers decline their $6 million team option and Hernandez reports that Blake may be reconsidering retirement after previously saying he planned to play somewhere in 2012 because “doctors have warned him that his condition could worsen if he continues to play.”

There is a “one million percent” chance Aroldis Champan will opt-out of his deal

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.

Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.

Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).

It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.

The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.