Schwarber, Pederson decline options, become free agents

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK- Atlanta outfielder Joc Pederson and Boston infielder-outfielder Kyle Schwarber were among 10 players who became free agents when they both declined 2022 mutual options in their contracts.

Pederson agreed with the Cubs in February to a $7 million, one-year contract that included a $4.5 million salary and a $10 million mutual option with a $2.5 million buyout. He was traded to Atlanta in July and helped the Braves win their first World Series title since 1995,

Pederson had two homers and five RBIs in the Division Series against Milwaukee and one homer and four RBIs in the League Championship Series vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers, then went 1 for 15 in the World Series against Houston.

Schwarber agreed to a $10 million, one-year contract with Washington in January that included a $7 million salary and an $11.5 million mutual option with a $3 million buyout. He was traded to the Red Sox in July.

Cincinnati outfielder Nick Castellanos became a free agent after exercising his right to opt out of the last two years of hus $68 million, four-year contract, which called for $16 million salaries in 2022 and ’23 and includes a $20 million mutual option for 2024 with a $2 million buyout.

Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner and reliever Darren O'Day declined mutual options, as did New York.

Gardner, a 38-year-old outfielder, agreed early in spring training to a $5.15 million, one-year contract that included a $2.3 million player option and a $7.15 million club option with a $1.15 million buyout.

O’Day, a side-arming right-hander who turned 39 on Oct. 22, agreed last February to a $3.15 million, one-year contract that included a $1.4 million player option and a $3.15 million club option with a $700,000 buyout.

Outfielder Kole Calhoun‘s $9 million option was declined by Arizona, triggering a $2 million buyout and completing a $16 million, two-year contract.

Mets outfielder Kevin Pillar became a free agent after he and New York both declined options. His deal called for a $3.6 million salary this year and included a $2.9 million player option and a $6.4 million club option with a $1.4 million buyout.

Milwaukee outfielder Avisail Garcia‘ declined his part of a mutual option. His deal guaranteed $18 million in salary and included a $12 million mutual option with a $2 million buyout, but only if exercised by the player and declined by the club.

Oakland left-hander Andrew Chafin‘s $5.25 million mutual option was exercised by the team and declined by the player, triggering a $500,000 buyout. His deal included a $2.75 million salary this year.

Philadelphia outfielder Andrew McCutchen, signed as a free agent to a $50 million, three-year contract in December 2018, gets a $3 million buyout instead of a $15 million salary.

There have been 170 players who became free agents following the World Series, and about 40 players await decisions on options by Sunday.

AP source: Nimmo staying with Mets on $162M, 8-year deal

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – Center fielder Brandon Nimmo is staying with the free-spending New York Mets, agreeing to a $162 million, eight-year contract, according to a person familiar with the deal.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Thursday night because the agreement is subject to a successful physical and no announcement had been made.

A quality leadoff hitter with an excellent eye and a .385 career on-base percentage, Nimmo became a free agent last month for the first time. He was a key performer as the Mets returned to the playoffs this year for the first time since 2016.

The left-handed hitter batted .274 with 16 homers and a team-high 102 runs, a career high. He also set career bests with 64 RBIs and 151 games played. His seven triples tied for most in the National League.

Bringing back Nimmo means New York is poised to return its entire everyday lineup intact from a team that tied for fifth in the majors in runs and won 101 regular-season games – second-most in franchise history.

But the Mets remain busy replenishing a pitching staff gutted by free agency, including Jacob deGrom‘s departure for Texas and Taijuan Walker‘s deal with Philadelphia that was pending a physical.

On the final day of baseball’s winter meetings Wednesday, the Mets completed an $86.7 million, two-year contract with former Houston ace Justin Verlander that includes a conditional $35 million player option for 2025. New York also retained All-Star closer Edwin Diaz last month with a $102 million, five-year contract, and the team has a $26 million, two-year agreement in place with veteran starter Jose Quintana, pending a physical.

Those moves add to a payroll that was the largest in the majors last season. Under owner Steve Cohen, who bought the Mets in November 2020, New York became baseball’s biggest spender this year for the first time since 1989. The Mets’ payroll was $273.9 million as of Aug. 31, with final figures that include bonuses yet to be compiled.

Nimmo was selected by New York with the No. 13 pick in the 2011 amateur draft. He declined a $19.65 million qualifying offer from the Mets last month.

The 29-year-old Wyoming native made his big league debut in 2016. He is a .269 career hitter with 63 homers, 213 RBIs and 23 triples in 608 games. He has an .827 career OPS and has improved his play in center, becoming a solid defender.

Nimmo’s new deal with the Mets was first reported by the New York Post.