By: Noah Wright
When the off season hits, there will be a handful of players and teams that will have to face a big choice: options. They will decide whether or not a player will remain with the team they were with, or hit the open market. Here are some of the more interesting options for more notable players.
- Yasmani Grandal:
The off season investment for the Brewers to sign Yasmani Grandal has more than paid off. The switch hitting catcher has been one of the Brewers’ best bats. Through 319 plate appearances, Grandal is smashing the ball at a slashline of .263/.379/.527. His 132 wRC+ would be a career high mark, along with his 49.5% hard hit rate. With the glove, Grandal has been about average this year with 0 DRS and -.3 UZR, but he has ranked as one of the games better defenders behind the plate in recent history. Regardless, Grandal has still caught 28% of runners trying to take a base on him, and is one of the best pitch framers in the league with 9.3 framing runs (2nd in the entire MLB). Grandal’s club option is only $9 million, so it’s all but certain the Brewers will pick it up.
- Chris Archer:
Archer, as a Pirates fan, is extremely inconsistent. Either he’s going to go 5 or 6 solid innings, or he’ll implode after 2 and give up 6 runs. And when he gives up 6 runs, they’ve been on home runs. The former Ray has given up 18 long balls in just 73 and two thirds innings. While the right hander still has a strong 9.8 K/9, his BB/9 has risen to 4.6. Archer’s option will be on the fence. While his $9 million option isn’t too much, the money could definitely go to better use. One thing I’d suggest is making Archer a 3 inning opener. Usually Archer is decent for 2-3 innings, but then starts to crumble. With Steven Brault showing some decent promise, maybe him and Archer could combine for 6 or even 7 innings of solid work as opener/long reliever. But after the Pirates gave up such a haul for Archer (Shane Baz, Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows), they might keep him around for now.
- Mike Moustakas:
Another player the Brewers will have to make a decision on is infielder Mike Moustakas. The former longtime Royal 3B is batting a strong .269/.339/.562 with 24 home runs and 129 wRC+ through 342 plate appearances. His OBP is currently sitting at a career high. Moustakas has actually split his playing time between third base, and second base. Even though Moustakas hasn’t played a middle infield position since 2007 when he was 18 (8 games at shortstop with the Royals rookie affiliate), let alone an inning at second base, Moose is putting up solid defensive numbers at 2B regardless. He has 2 DRS at both 3B and 2B, along with a positive UZR at 2B (.6). He does have a negative UZR at third though (-.2). Overall, he has a .4 dWAR. Moustakas’ mutual option is worth $11 million. Speaking that the last 2 trips through free agency for Moustakas has been pretty rough, he’ll likely be willing to take up the offer. Plus since the option isn’t too expensive, the Brewers will likely pick it up as well.
- Elvis Andrus:
It’s hard to believe that Andrus is only 30 years old (will be 31 in late August), since it feels like he’s been in the MLB forever. Regardless, the shortstop’s 11th season has been one to remember. After a 2018 season where Andrus suffered injury, the middle infielder has bounced back to bat .306/.342/.454 and 103 wRC+ in 333 PA’s. Plus he has stolen 19 bases so far. Even though Andrus has -5 DRS at short, he has a 6.9 UZR, and 0.0 dWAR. Andrus’ option is a drop-out clause. Andrus can either test free agency, or remain with the Rangers for 3 more years for $43 million. I could absolutely see Andrus staying in Texas. But if Andrus really really wants a World Series ring, he might test the free agent waters.
- Nick Markakis:
Markakis continues to produce decent numbers with his bat. In 350 plate appearances, Markakis has a .275/.351/.425 line, along with 8 long balls, and 102 wRC+. But his age is starting to show. The once excellent defense Markakis once had is fading away. He has -5 DRS, -6 UZR, and a -.9 dWAR in right field this season. Markakis’ option is a club option for $6 million. While the money isn’t too much, the $6 million could go towards something else. Plus with top prospects Drew Waters and Christian Pache just waiting around the corner, the Braves don’t really have a need for Markakis. If they do pick up his $6 million option, Markakis will get regular time for most of April, but be moved into a part time/4th OF role after April with Pache and Waters coming up.
- J.D. Martinez:
JDM has become on of MLB’s premier sluggers. In his second year with Boston, JD has a .296/.370/.539 batting line, 18 home runs, and a 133 wRC+. Plus Martinez is striking out less than ever with his career low 18.9% K%. Another impressive thing of note is that JD has made soft contact at just a 8.7% rate. However, the Red Sox slugger has been mainly a DH/4th OF the past 2 seasons. But when he does play OF, his numbers are usually below average. While JDM has 1 DRS in right field, -1 DRS in left field, and .3 UZR, his dWAR is -.5. Last season his dWAR was -1.4 in a limited amount of OF appearances. Martinez isn’t really fast either, so he lacks a good amount of range. Though one positive thing to note is that Martinez has a decent arm (1.3 outfield arm runs above average). Regardless, Martinez isn’t really going to appeal to too many NL clubs unless he’s willing to move to first base. Speaking that the last trip through free agency for Martinez was a slow one, he might decide to stick around and pick up his option with the Sox for 3 years, $62.5 million.
- Jose Quintana:
LHP Cubs’ starter Jose Quintana hasn’t exactly been what the team was expecting when the Cubs traded for him in 2017. This season, Quintana has been less than stellar with his 4.21 ERA, 4.13 FIP, and 1.372 WHIP through 94 innings. His K/9 has dipped to a career low 7.5, while his hits/9 rate has risen to 9.6 (the highest it’s been since his 2012 rookie season). Opponents are squaring up, and making hard contact against the lefty at a career high 38.9% rate. Quintana’s option is for $11.5 million, but has a $1 million buyout. But speaking that the Cubs gave up Eloy Jimenez, who has been on a tear since the beginning of June, the Cubs might want to give Q another chance, similar to the Pirates and Archer.