Friday is decision day. By Friday, November 6, teams who have contract options on players for the 2016 Major League Baseball season must decide whether to exercise those options or to let the players become free agents. In most cases, the team would have to pay a "buyout" if they're not picking up the option. BYB broke down the players who are eligible and likely to receive qualifying offers, and some interesting names who probably will not.
Players who have options for the 2016 season must decide by Friday whether they will stay with their existing teams or opt for free agency. Also by Friday, teams must decide whether to make a qualifying offer of $15.8 million for the 2016 season to their own free agent players in order to be eligible for draft pick compensation should the players sign with another team.
Two of the most interesting options belong to high profile players who have player options. Los Angeles Dodgers' Cy Young candidate Zack Greinke has announced that he will opt out of the remaining three years of his contract, which would have paid him a total of $71 million for the three seasons. Outfielder Alex Gordon of the World Series champion Kansas City Royals must decide whether to exercise his player option for 2016 which would pay him $12.5 million according to Cot's contracts, or opt for free agency where he is sure to land a multi year contract for much more money.
The smart money says that Gordon will opt for free agency. He earns a $14 million salary for the 2016 season, and he is not likely to be willing to take a pay cut and forego what surely would be a much more lucrative multi year contract on the free agent market. Gordon initially said that he planned to exercise his player option, but that was in August of 2014. He has since hedged on that statement, telling the Kansas City Star before the season that, while he would like to stay in Kansas City, he was unsure whether he would exercise the team-friendly option. Should he opt for free agency, Gordon would be one of the premier outfielders on the market this winter, and is the Royals' only player currently earning an eight figure salary.
Both Greinke and Gordon would surely receive qualifying offers of $15,8 million for one season from their respective teams after opting to test the market. In three previous seasons under the current system, no player has accepted a qualifying offer, always choosing to seek a multi year contract instead.Two other player options of interest belong to the Dodgers' J.P. Howell for $6.25 million and the Yankees' Brendan Ryan for $1 million. Both players are expected to exercise those options.
The Tigers have only one player with an option for 2016. They are expected to decline Joe Nathan's $10 million option and pay him a $1 million buyout. BYB covered the full list of players with options here, both those likely and less likely to be exercised. Detroit will not be making any qualified offers to their remaining free agent players, but the Tigers will be interested to see which free agents will cost them a second round draft pick should they sign with a new team.
Over the course of the next week, we can expect announcements and reports of the players who will receive qualifying offers and those whose options will be picked up or declined for the 2016 season. Also starting Friday, free agent players are officially free to sign with new teams. Friday is also the first day that teams can sign free agent players from other teams. Let the rosterbation begin!