Storylines: Youkilis will hang up spikes on his career
In this MLB News and Notes segment, I will be giving occasional reports on the latest news and rumors throughout the MLB. I also will try to tweet news and rumors as I see them, so feel free to follow me on Twitter: @AndrewIBI.
Here are the stories from Thursday, Oct. 30.
- Corner infielder Kevin Youkilis will hang up his spikes after a 14-year professional career, according to a tweet from his representatives at Pro Star Management. The 35-year-old will be remembered most fondly for his time in Boston. With the Red Sox, Youkilis emerged as one of the game's most consistent on-base threats. His ability to work counts and draw walks was so legendary that it drew him the appellation "the Greek God of Walks," a name referenced in the famous Moneyball book and film. Of course, he could do much more than that. Over his six full-time seasons with the Red Sox, Youkilis slashed an outstanding .292/.392/.500 with 121 home runs. With solid defensive marks at third, he was worth 29.5 rWAR and 25.9 fWAR over that stretch, making him one of the very best position players in the game.
News and Notes:
- The Red Sox announced that they signed right-hander Koji Uehara to a two-year extension that runs through the 2016 season. Alex Speier of WEEI.com reported that it is a two-year, $18 million contract.
- The Cardinals exercised their league-minimum option on right-hander John Lackey, per a report from the Associated Press. The move is little more than a formality, as there was never any real doubt that the Cardinals would exercise the mere $500,000 option. That option was a large part of the reason that Lackey was so desirable at this year's trade deadline and a large part of the reason that the club was willing to part with both Joe Kelly and Allen Craig to land him.
- Dodgers right-hander Dan Haren exercised his $10 million player option for the 2015 season, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reported.
- The Brewers officially exercised their $13 million club option on right-hander Yovani Gallardo, according to MLBTR's Tim Dierkes.
- The Nationals exercised center fielder Denard Span's $9 million option, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reported. Span, 30, will now enter his final season of team control before hitting the market after the year. The team announced the move on Span while also announcing that it has declined its club option on reliever Rafael Soriano and the team end of a mutual option for first baseman Adam LaRoche.
- The Mariners announced that Hisashi Iwakuma's $7 million option officially vested based on his on-field performance. The option was widely believed to be a club option, however Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune recently reported that the option vested by virtue of Iwakuma's on-field performance. The Mariners officially announced as much.
- The Angels announced a series of transactions. As expected, the team exercised its $7 million option over closer Huston Street while declining a $4.5 million option over reliever Sean Burnett. The Halos also returned Rule 5 lefty Brian Moran to the Mariners after he cleared waivers.
- Though the Royals are coming off their best season in nearly three decades, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News wrote that the team will soon need to turn its focus to some difficult offseason decisions. Industry expectations, according to Martino, are that the Royals will at least listen to trade offers for its more expensive players — including Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas — if other teams come calling this winter. Gordon's case is the most pressing, as he's only controlled through 2015 at $12.5 million before he has a $12.5 million player option. Gordon has publicly stated that he plans to exercise that option, though it'd be a surprise, to say the least, considering he could be in line for a much more sizable long-term commitment next offseason if he turns it down. Martino also noted that the Royals will have interest in re-signing Nori Aoki this offseason.
- The Royals are expected to decline their $12.5 million option on designated hitter Billy Butler in favor of a $1 million buyout, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The move isn't exactly unexpected after the down season he had at the plate. However, Heyman added that the team may look to pursue Torii Hunter, as they did seven years ago, in the event that Aoki signs elsewhere as a free agent. The Kansas City Star's Andy McCullough also heard that Butler's option is likely to be declined.
- The Padres announced that they have declined their $4 million club option on right-hander Josh Johnson. As MLB.com's Corey Brock reported, the Friars are said to want to work out a lesser deal with Johnson and his representatives at Sosnick/Cobbe Sports.
- The Diamondbacks announced that they have exercised their 2015 club options on right-hander Daniel Hudson and left-hander Matt Reynolds. Hudson's option guarantees him $800,000 next season, while Reynolds will earn $600,000.
- The Phillies declined their $6 million club option on reliever Mike Adams, the club announced.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels has already had discussions with Alan Nero, the agent for free agent righty Colby Lewis, about a return to the organization for Lewis, MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reported. The Rangers have extended a preliminary offer to Lewis, which Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported is a Major League offer. There's mutual interest on both sides, according to the pair of reports, but the process has likely been slowed somewhat by the fact that Nero also represents manager Joe Maddon, who is said to be in line to take over as skipper of the Cubs. Lewis struggled in the first half of the 2014 season but rebounded quite well in the second half, posting a 3.86 ERA over his final 13 starts. His 5.18 ERA on the season was likely inflated by a .339 batting average on balls in play.
- Also of note from Sullivan, the Rangers are expected to look to make rotation additions beyond Lewis this offseason, however they're more likely to come via the trade market than via free agency. The Rangers do possess a good deal of middle infield depth. Both Jurickson Profar and Rougned Odor both are seen as highly regarded talents, but the Rangers don't have a place to slot both of them into the starting lineup.