Saturday, November 2, 2013

Lester, Jeter highlight MLB Hot Stove deals

As soon as the Boston Red Sox became World Series Champions, Major League Baseball's Hot Stove was ignited and Friday it began to get truly stoked. Over the course of the five days following the World Series, options are picked up or declined, new contracts are signed and qualifying offers will be made to several stars.

Speaking of the World Champions, the Red Sox picked up the option on rotation stalwart Jon Lester Friday. Lester was masterful in the World Series and compiled a 15-8 record with a 3.75 ERA in the regular season. At $13 million this was a no-brainer move for the BoSox, and will cost the team minimally more than they paid Lester in 2013 ($11.625 million).

Lester’s value according to FanGraphs in 2013 was $21.4 million. Lester, who will turn 30 in January, will be a free agent at the end of the 2014 season, which begs the question of whether the Red Sox work out a new deal with the left-hander.

In New York, the Yankees signed Derek Jeter to a one-year/$12 million contract for 2014. Jeter had a player option worth $9.5 million on the table. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman reportedthat Jeter and Hal Steinbrenner negotiated the deal one-on-one in an effort to avoid any nasty negotiations similar to those that surfaced during Jeter’s last contract talks.

It is no secret that the Yankees are trying to stay below 2014’s $189 million competitive balance tax (CBT) threshold. The new deal actually inflated Jeter’s value in terms of the CBT to $12.81 million instead of about $10.75 million had he simply picked up his player option. Sherman gives a very good explanationof the CBT calculations if you’re interested.

The Toronto Blue Jays picked up the options on closer Casey Janssen (4-1, 2.56 ERA, 36 Saves) who receives a thrifty $4 million deal, first baseman Adam Lind (.854 OPS with 23 home runs) gets $7 million next season and utility-man Mark DeRosa(.733 OPS in 233 PA) nets $750K.

The Oakland Athletics picked up options on centerfielder Coco Crisp (.779 OPS, 93 R, 22 HR and 21 SB) at $7.5 million and pitcher Brett Anderson, who has not tossed more than 100 innings in a season since 2010 will make $8 million. The A’s declined options on outfielder Chris Young and catcher Kurt Suzuki.

The New York Mets unsurprisingly declined to pick up starter Johan Santana’s $25 million option, instead paying him a $5.5 million buyout. Santana is trying to recuperate from an injury that kept him out of the entire 2013 season. He went 46-34 with a 3.18 ERA across four seasons with the Mets.

The Cleveland Indians picked up Ubaldo Jimenez’s option valued at $8 million. However, Jimenez had a clause in his contract which allowed him to void the option if picked up. The Indians are expecting to offer the right-hander a qualifying offer before the Nov. 4 deadline.

The Pittsburgh Pirates had starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez pick up his $13 million player option. Rodriguez missed the final four months of the regular season.

Others who found themselves free agents since Wednesday’s transactions include Joe Nathan Jason Kubel, Chris Perez, Lance Berkman, Jake Westbrook, Chris Capuanoand Mark Ellis.

The flurry of these types of transactions will continue through Nov. 4 when teams will need to decide if they will offer “former” players a qualifying offer ($14.1 million for 2014). If they do and the player signs elsewhere the signing club forfeits a pick in the first-year player draft and the former team is granted a compensatory selection in the first or second round of the draft.

If I can’t watch baseball, there is nothing better than seeing the Hot Stove burn! What moves do you want your team to make? Let me know in the comments.

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison via Flickr

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo. Besides his work here, Chris is a New York Yankees contributor for Yahoo Sports. Connect with Chris on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.