While this week’s acquisition of Justin Smoak clouds his future in Toronto, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports that the Blue Jays have exercised Adam Lind’s $7.5 million club option for 2015.
Lind, 31, batted .321/.381/.479 with six home runs and 40 RBI over 96 games this season. He can’t hit left-handed pitching, but his salary for 2015 is reasonable and his contract still includes an affordable $8 million club option for 2016. That could make him an enticing target on the trade market.
The Blue Jays claimed Smoak off waivers from the Mariners earlier this week and will likely decline his a $3.65 million option option for 2015 in favor of a $150,000 buyout. However, they would still have him under team control for another year via the arbitration process. At the very least, Smoak gives the Jays a cheaper (albeit less productive) fallback option if they find an attractive trade offer for Lind in the coming days and weeks.
In other news, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca hears that the Blue Jays have declined their $6 million club option on reliever Sergio Santos. He’ll receive a $750,000 buyout and become a free agent. Santos’ contract once looked like a potential bargain, but he has struggled through injuries in recent years.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.