As we can crown the San Francisco Giants the 2012 World Series Champions, baseball’s offseason has now began. The first order of business for most teams is to handle the players that have options to be either exercised or declined. The Orioles have two players who have options; pitcher, Luis Ayala and first baseman, Mark Reynolds. In baseball contracts, there are certain stipulations that allow a team, player, or both to decide the fate of the player for the following year; whether they return to the team or not. There are “player” options and “club” options. Occasionally, a player’s contract can have a club AND player option; therefore the player has somewhat of a choice to come back to the team, even if the team declines their half.
Both kinds of options are either declined or exercised for the following season; in this case it would be 2013. One factor that goes into that decision, is what kind of season the player had the previous year and if he would be worth it to retain him for the upcoming year. In some cases, a team can decline a player’s club option (since it’s too expensive), but bring the player back at a reduced salary if he is willing to return.
The Orioles have made their decisions regarding both Ayala and Reynolds. Luis Ayala’s option was exercised while the O’s chose to decline the $11MM option on Reynolds. For that type of money, Reynolds’ production did not justify being paid. He started off VERY slowly, but came around and carried us for a few weeks during the year. The strikeouts declined as did his home run output. On the other hand, Luis Ayala had an excellent season coming out of the Orioles pen, and his option was a pretty sure thing to be exercised. Brittany Ghiroli has an article up on the Orioles website that broke the story.
What could end up happening is that Reynolds may be brought back, but for less than $11MM. Reynolds can remain an Oriole if the team decides to offer him arbitration where his salary could escalate from $7.5MM to $8-9MM. Another option would be to just get a new contract signed to avoid the arbitration process completely. I myself believe that Reynolds will be back next year. He has too much power potential to be overlooked and made vast improvements defensively to offset his strikeouts and low batting average. I was calling for his head early in 2012 but he sure proved me wrong. He became an important cog in the Orioles run to the Division Series in 2012. Hopefully, the team and Reynolds can come to an agreement because the Orioles need him. The first base market otherwise doesn’t look to have many better options. Mark Reynolds CAN help this team in 2013. Hope to see him back in the orange and black!! Keep it here for more Orioles news updates!