Blue Jays pick up option on Josh Thole; decline on Justin Smoak, Brandon Morrow, Dustin McGowan

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It’s all Blue Jays, all the time at HardballTalk today.

The Blue Jays announced this afternoon that they have exercised their $1.75 million club option on Josh Thole for 2015 while declining options on Justin Smoak ($3.65 million), Brandon Morrow ($10 million), and Dustin McGowan ($4 million).

Smoak is the most noteworthy one in this bunch, as he was just claimed off waivers from the Mariners earlier this week. While the Blue Jays declined his option, he is still under team control for one more season and will now go through the arbitration process. He’s expected to fill the role of Adam Lind, who was traded to the Brewers today.

Morrow will receive a $1 million buyout and become a free agent. The 30-year-old has great potential, but injuries have limited him to just 87 2/3 innings over the past two seasons. McGowan has had health issues of his own in recent years, but he managed to throw 82 innings this season between the rotation and the bullpen — his most innings since 2008 – while posting a 4.17 ERA and 61/33 K/BB ratio. However, the Blue Jays opted to cut ties with a $500,000 buyout.

Thole owns an ugly .213/.289/.261 batting line over two seasons with the Blue Jays, but he’ll stick around as R.A. Dickey’s personal catcher.

Giancarlo Stanton is in tonight’s lineup

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The Yankees have activated Giancarlo Stanton from the 60-day injured list. Stanton is starting in left field and batting fifth tonight against the Angels.

Stanton has missed nearly three months with a PCL strain in his right knee and has played in only nine games this season, hitting .290/.421/.419 with a double, a homer, seven RBI, and four runs scored in 38 plate appearances. Obviously the Yankees have been OK without him, but it’ll be nice to have him back. Indeed, if he’s not too rusty, it’ll be like they picked up a big time slugger at a trade deadline that fell on September 18, but just for the Yankees.