Many fans of MLB are highly anticipating tomorrow night’s game six of the World Series in Cleveland. But while the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs battle it out for the title of Baseball Champs, a lot is going on behind the scenes for all thirty teams. Once the World Series concludes, the MLB offseason will officially be underway. There will be a few days before players become free agents officially, but none the less, front office personnel are certainly working over many different scenarios at this moment.
One of the main decisions teams will have will include whether or not they should pick up club options for specific players. This year’s crop of potential free agents has a handful of borderline option decisions. A team can opt to take the option, and pay that player on what is essentially a one-year deal. Or they can decide it is time to move on from that player, and decline the option, making that player a free agent. To make these decisions more complicated, teams can also look to trade these players.
Now a trade of such a player makes perfect sense. As I mentioned, if an option is picked up, it is essentially a one-year deal for the 2017 season. If players hit the open market, they may command multi-year pacts. So while the annual salary for one season may be greater than if a team signed said player to a multi-year deal, these types of players are not exactly locks to be solid additions for years to come. Many of them are more appealing on a one-year deal, as it sets them up for a contract year where they play with a little extra motivation.
These trade decisions can be made now or after the option is picked up. If a team is lucky enough to pull off a deal now, they do not need even to worry about getting stuck with that player due to lack of interest. If a trade does not come to fruition in the coming days, the team does run the risk of getting minimal offers in return. Now trading a player a team does not want even for a minimal return is better than getting nothing in return if the option is declined.
A recent report over at MLB Trade Rumors suggests some of these players (Carlos Ruiz, Pat Neshek, and Fernando Rodney) are available. The Dodgers have two other catchers in the form of Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes, so any team looking to add a veteran catcher who knows how to win could surely have an interest in Chooch in a backup capacity. Neshek would likely get a multi-year deal on the open market, so teams could view him as a reliever they can add at a discounted rate. And the Marlins simply have no intent of having Rodney on their 2017 roster, so they are wise to look to get something in return for him after giving up a decent price at the trade deadline to acquire him.
Some other intriguing club option players include Clay Buchholz, Derek Holland, Jaime Garcia, Yunel Escobar, Cameron Maybin and Gio Gonzalez. Every one of those players are not a lock to have their options picked up. Even if their clubs do decide to keep them around, for now, they may become the subject of trade rumors in the coming months.