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Option calls due in by midnight Monday

Oct 29, 2011, 2:20 PM EDT

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Teams and players will have to announce by midnight on Monday night whether they’re exercising or declining their 2012 options. The Cubs’ Ryan Dempster struck first Saturday, exercising his $14 million player option to stay in Chicago. Here are some of the other calls still to be made:

Grady Sizemore (Cle) – The Indians hold a $9 million option on Sizemore that ranks as one of the toughest calls of the offseason. Dealing with injuries for the third straight season, Sizemore hit .224/.285/.422 with 10 homers in 268 at-bats. Still, he’s just 29 and he was one of the AL’s best players four years running from 2005-08. For $9 million, the Indians should take the chance that he bounces back. (Update: MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian is reporting that the Indians will decline the option and pay a $500,000 buyout.)

Aramis Ramirez (ChC) – Even though Ramirez overcame a rough start to hit .306/.361/.510 with 26 homers, it’s long been assumed that the Cubs would decline their $16 million option on his services. That doesn’t seem likely to change with Theo Epstein in town.

Brandon Phillips, Francisco Cordero (Cin) – The Reds have been trying to work out new deals with both in lieu of picking up options worth $12 million. Phillips’ option is sure to be exercised if nothing can be worked out. Cordero seems likely to get a two-year deal worth significantly less than $12 million per season.

Marco Scutaro (Bos) – Scutaro’s contract includes a rare double option that allows Scutaro to return at a lesser price if the Red Sox decline to pick up their half of the option. However, all indications are that the Red Sox will pick up their half and bring their shortstop back at $6 million for 2012.

Nick Swisher (NYY) – The Yankees have weighed a bid for Carlos Beltran, but their plan is to exercise Swisher’s $10.25 million option. Even if they decide later that they’d rather have Beltran, Swisher should be tradeable at that price.

Yadier Molina (StL), Robinson Cano (NYY) – It’s long been obvious that these two are getting exercised. Molina will make $7 million in 2012, while Cano will get a hefty raise to $14 million.

  1. dondada10 - Oct 29, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    I don’t think the Sizemore option is debatable. I’d imagine the Indians decline it. Would Cleveland give him 9 mil more next season if he were a free-agent? Dude’s 3 years removed from a healthy, productive season. Can you say “Ben Grieve?”

    • presidentmiraflores - Oct 29, 2011 at 3:05 PM

      Seems to me they could take their chances by releasing him and offering to sign him at about half the option price. And if that doesn’t work, like dondada said, he’s a few years out from having done much of anything, so if he goes somewhere else and returns to form, you can forgive yourself for letting him sign elsewhere for more money.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 29, 2011 at 5:27 PM

      Nope, the Indians wouldn’t sign Sizemore for $9 million if he were someone else’s free agent. Not a chance.

      Still, I think the ceiling makes him worth it. And I can’t imagine he’d come back for less if the option is declined. Some team out there would guarantee him close to $9 million with a chance to earn a few million extra in incentives. Boston for one, I bet.

  2. mgam123 - Oct 29, 2011 at 3:15 PM

    What do you think of the Indians’ Carmona option, Matthew?

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 29, 2011 at 5:25 PM

      I think they have to swallow hard and exercise it. $7 million isn’t that bad, and on the off chance that he does come back with an improved version of his 2010 season, they could still potentially keep him for two more years. The upside outweighs the downside. That’s how I feel about Sizemore, too. The possibility is there that he’ll have an $15 million-$20 million season and then bring back two draft picks next winter.

  3. brjones9 - Oct 29, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    I think Ramirez’s option is actually almost certain to be picked up…mainly because he has said he’d decline his side of it, so it’ll save the Cubs his $2 million buyout. Also, I don’t think the Cubs can offer arbitration unless they pick up the option and Ramirez declines. Given that Ramirez is certain to get a multi-year offer, offering arbitration and picking up a draft pick is a no-brainer.

    Even if Ramirez accepts, it’s not like the Cubs have any other real options at third base next year. There are worse things than having your best hitter choose to come back on a one year deal.

  4. bigtrav425 - Oct 29, 2011 at 4:58 PM

    whoever wrote this article obviously does not know alot about baseball,considering he thinks the Indians should take Sizemore’s option…that would be asinine on there part! You move brantley to center (where he should be) and use that money toward a pwer hitting corner OF or 1st baseman…Carmona’s will be picked up becasue of Carrasco’s tommy john surgery and if he gets his head straight finally they can either keep him or use him as trade bait for a OF or 1st basemen next trading deadline

    • Matthew Pouliot - Oct 29, 2011 at 5:22 PM

      Have fun with Michael Cuddyer and another .500 season then.

  5. mgscott - Oct 29, 2011 at 7:01 PM

    Sizemore will make a west coast team proud.

  6. mgflolox - Oct 30, 2011 at 1:09 AM

    God, I would love to see the Giants or A’s take a chance on Sizemore. He could provide a lot of value to a team as long as he can stay on the field.

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