Failure Is Actually An Option

Tim Dierkes at MLBTR has collected an invaluable list of club and player options for the 2011 season.  As he notes, the deadline to exercise or reject is typically three days after the end of the World Series.

Among the list of no brainers are:

1) Edgar Renteria’s $10.5 million club option with a $500,000 buyout.

Brian Sabean may be the architect behind such contracts as Barry Zito’s 7 year / $126 million deal, Aaron Rowand’s 5 year / $60 million deal and Renteria’s original 2 year / $18.5 million deal but don’t expect this tab to be picked up, no matter what heroics Renteria may offer in the final game(s) of the World Series.  For his part, Renteria has said that he’s considering retirement.

2) Eric Chavez’s $12.5 million club option with a $3 million buyout.

Chavez has played in 154 games for the A’s over the last four years.  During that time, he was paid $9 million in 2007, $11 million in 2008, $11 million in 2009 and $12 million in 2010.  Art Howe, who will play Chavez in the new Moneyball movie, has a better chance of receiving a contract offer from Billy Beane for next season.

3) Aaron Harang’s $12.75 million club option with a $2 million buyout.

Harang has seen his total innings steadily decline since 2007 when he signed a 4 year / $36.5 million back loaded contract.  In 2010, Harang threw fewer innings than he has thrown since becoming a regular, all while putting up the highest ERA of his career.  With a large list of soon to be arbitration eligible young stars, Walt Jocketty and the Reds will be glad to get rid of this albatross.

On the other side of the coin, the Atlanta Braves would be foolish not to exercise Omar Infante’s and Alex Gonzalez’s $2.5 million club options, just as Adrian Beltre would be downright dumb to accept his $10 million option with the Red Sox when so much more fliff is available to be made on the open market.

Of course every year, stupidity gets the better of baseball agents and dumb decisions are made.  While it didn’t involve a contract option, at the end of last season, Rod Barajas declined the Jays offer of arbitration which would’ve resulted in a raise from the $2.5 million he made in 2009 instead of the $500,000 in guaranteed money he got from the Mets.

As sad as it is that the baseball season is quickly approaching its conclusion, the never ending amusement of offseason transaction mishandling is about to begin.

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