Baseball’s business began Monday with the New York Yankees exercising $15 million options on second baseman Robinson Cano and center fielder Curtis Granderson, two of the disappointments in their AL championship series loss to the Detroit Tigers.
Oakland, the surprise AL West champion with a major league-low $59.5 million payroll, exercised a $4.5 million option for closer Grant Balfour and declined its half of a $10 million mutual option for shortstop Stephen Drew, who receives a $1.35 million buyout.
”It’s great,” Balfour said. ”I would like to stay longer. Hopefully we can work something out. I believe we are young and have a lot of good times ahead for the Oakland organization and the fans.”
Minnesota declined a $9.25 million option on right-hander Scott Baker, who missed the entire season because of a torn elbow ligament. The Twins are interested in keeping him at a lower salary.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, who haven’t made the playoffs in three years, declined options on first baseman Juan Rivera ($4 million), right-hander Todd Coffey ($2.5 million) and catcher Matt Treanor ($950,000). Rivera gets a $500,000 buyout, Coffey $300,000 and Treanor $150,000.
Cano hit .313 with 33 homers and 94 RBI during the regular season and Granderson hit 43 homers and drove in 106 runs, but had a career-low .232 average and a career-high 195 strikeouts. Cano batted .075 (3 for 40) in the playoffs with no homers and Granderson was 3 for 30 with 16 strikeouts.
Both can become free agents after the 2013 season.
In addition, the Yankees exercised a $500,000 option on reliever David Aardsma, who came back from elbow ligament-replacement surgery to pitch one inning at the end of the season.
Decisions on options are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT Friday, although some individual player contracts require they be made earlier.
Also Friday, teams have until 5 p.m. Eastern time to make $13.3 million qualifying offers to their players who became free agents. A player must have been with the team since the start of the season to be eligible.
If a player receives the offer, he has until Nov. 9 to accept it. A team is eligible to receive draft pick compensation if a player turns down the qualifying offer and signs a big league contract with another team before June’s amateur draft.
This replaces the system of offering salary arbitration to free agents under the formula from the 1981 strike settlement.