HomeTrending MLB NewsThese MLB veterans will have opt-out opportunities before Opening Day

These MLB veterans will have opt-out opportunities before Opening Day

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One of the provisions in that 2022-26 collective bargaining agreement is uniform opt-out opportunities for Article XX(B) free agents on minor league deals. An Article XX(B) free agent is one with at least six years of service time who finished the previous season on a Major League roster or injured list. Any such player who signs a minor league deal more than 10 days prior to Opening Day can opt out of that deal at three points if they haven’t been added to the 40-man roster: five days before Opening Day, May 1 and June 1.

The first uniform opt-out date on this year’s calendar falls Friday at 1 p.m. CT. Any player can trigger his out clause at that point, and the team will subsequently be given a 48-hour window to either add him to the roster or release him. With many clubs around the league dealing with spring injuries, some of these players should be able to find opportunities elsewhere if they can’t find it with their current organization. Their current clubs can prevent them from opting out by giving them a roster spot, but that may involve cutting someone else.

Angels: OF Jake Marisnick, LHP Drew Pomeranz

Marisnick, 33 this month, is a right-handed-hitting fourth outfielder with a plus glove and questionable bat. He can hold his own against right-handed pitching (career .237/.293/.417, 93 wRC+) but is typically overmatched by righties (.223/.274/.365, 74 wRC+). He’s having a huge spring, but the Angels already have Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, Mickey Moniak, Aaron Hicks and Jo Adell on the 40-man roster.

The 35-year-old Pomeranz was a good starter from 2016-17 and a dominant reliever from 2019-21, but he didn’t pitch in 2022-23 due to arm injuries. He’s pitched 6 2/3 innings with the Angels this spring with middling results.

Blue Jays: 3B/2B Eduardo Escobar, 1B Joey Votto

A poor season between the Mets and Angels last year set the stage for the 35-year-old Escobar to take a minor-league deal. He’s long been a productive MLB hitter and even topped 30 homers back in 2019, but Escobar’s now in his mid-30s and struggling through an ugly spring while trying to win a spot in a crowded infield mix also featuring Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Santiago Espinal, Cavan Biggio, Ernie Clement and Davis Schneider.

Votto, 40, has been connected the Blue Jays seemingly forever due to his Canadian roots. He finally suited up for the Jays after agreeing to a minor league deal and homered in his first at-bat of camp. He’s had a lackluster showing at the plate in each of the past two MLB seasons, however.

Cubs: 1B/OF Garrett Cooper, RHP Carl Edwards Jr., OF David Peralta

An underrated hitter for years in Miami, Cooper slashed .274/.350/.444 in nearly 1300 plate appearances from 2019-22 before a poorly timed down showing in 2023’s walk year. He’s hitting quite well in spring training, and the Cubs don’t have a proven option at first base – though they’re understandably high on 26-year-old trade acquisition Michael Busch.

Edwards had a nice 2022 season with the Nats and posted a solid ERA in 2023 but did so with dismal K-BB numbers. He’s competing for a spot in an uncharacteristically crowded Cubs bullpen and could be squeezed out. The 32-year-old pitched for the Cubs from 2015-19, so Chicago brass knows him well. From 2022-23 in D.C., he posted a 3.07 ERA but a middling 20% strikeout rate against a 10.5% walk rate.

Peralta, 36, has a trio of hits and a walk in ten plate appearances this spring. He was an above-average hitter with the D-backs every season from 2017-20 but has been less consistent of late. He’s a left-handed hitter who’s long had glaring platoon splits and is limited to the outfield corners.

Diamondbacks: SS Elvis Andrus

Andrus is 35 but can still pick it at shortstop or second base. His once above-average speed has faded to the 30th percentile of MLB players, per Statcast, but his range at short remains excellent. Andrus hit .251/.304/.358 (81 wRC+) for the White Sox in 2023 and only has one year of above-average offense (2022) in the past six seasons.

Guardians: RHP Carlos Carrasco

Old friend Cookie Carrasco is fighting for the fifth spot in the Guardians’ rotation and news of Gavin Williams’ season-opening stint on the injured list could further open the door for the 36-year-old (37 on Thursday) to make the team. Carrasco was torched for a 6.80 ERA with the 2023 Mets. He allowed 1.80 homers per nine frames through 90 innings, with alarming batted-ball metrics (91.5 mph average exit velocity, 48.2% hard-hit rate, 10.7% barrel rate). He was a solid mid-rotation arm as recently as 2022, when he tossed 152 innings of 3.97 ERA ball with sharp strikeout and walk rates.

Marlins: C Curt Casali

The veteran Casali has batted .201/.311/.315 over the past three big league seasons – a 78 wRC+ in 503 plate appearances. The 35-year-old is off to a rough start in camp and is a long shot to unseat defensive-minded Nick Fortes or Christian Bethancourt, both of whom are already on the 40-man roster.

Mets: 1B/DH Ji Man Choi

From 2017-22, Choi hit .254/.363/.465 (130 wRC+) against right-handed pitching. He walked at a 14.4% clip when holding the platoon advantage and fanned at a higher-than-average but still-manageable 24.1% rate. Lefties have always had Choi’s number, however, and his overall production cratered in 2023 while he dealt with Achilles and ribcage injuries. He’s fighting for a bench spot in New York alongside DJ Stewart and others.

Nationals: RHP Matt Barnes, OF Eddie Rosario, OF Jesse Winker

Barnes was an All-Star closer with the Red Sox in 2021 and briefly one of the game’s most dominant relievers, fanning more than 40% of his opponents for the bulk of that season. He wore down beginning in August and hasn’t been the same since a hip injury. Barnes’ velocity and strikeouts were way down in 2023 before he underwent season-ending surgery. He should have a good chance to win a spot in a Nationals bullpen that has little established talent.

Rosario and Winker are both left-handed-hitting outfielders who are best deployed in left field – with Winker having a particularly shaky defensive reputation. Winker is the younger of the two at 30 years old (to Rosario’s 32). Winker was quietly one of the most productive hitters in baseball against right-handed pitching for much of his time in Cincinnati, but knee and neck surgery in October 2022 look to have taken their toll on him. Rosario was the far more productive hitter in 2023. There may not be room for both veterans on the Washington roster. Winker has been in camp longer and been more productive in their small samples.

Orioles: 2B Kolten Wong

The Orioles seem to bring in a veteran infielder coming off a down season almost every year. It’s Wong’s turn in 2023. The 33-year-old was one of the game’s worst hitters in ’23, slashing just .183/.256/.263 in 250 plate appearances between the Mariners and Dodgers. That was beyond out of character for Wong, who’d been an average or better hitter in five of the past six seasons. If the O’s don’t want to rush Jackson Holliday or Coby Mayo, Wong could win a spot on the roster – but he hasn’t hit that well in camp so far.

Pirates: RHP Chase Anderson

It’s been five years since Anderson’s last solid season in a big league rotation, but the well-liked veteran continues to get work each season. From 2020-23, he’s pitched to a 6.19 ERA in 192 MLB frames – including a 5.42 mark in 86 1/3 innings last year (mostly with the Rockies). Anderson doesn’t miss many bats, but he has good command and is having a nice spring with the Pirates. He’s competing with Luis Ortiz, Jared Jones, Roansy Contreras, Domingo German and others for one of two generally open rotation spots in Pittsburgh.

Rangers: INF Matt Duffy, RHP Shane Greene, RHP Jose Urena

A contact-oriented hitter who can play all over the infield, the 33-year-old Duffy faces an uphill battle with Josh Smith, Ezequiel Duran and Justin Foscue all on the 40-man roster ahead of him. Nathaniel Lowe will open the season on the injured list, but that’ll likely work to Jared Walsh’s benefit more than Duffy.

Greene, 35, is a former All-Star closer/setup man who peaked with the Tigers and Braves from 2017-20. He’s thrown just three innings in each of the past two MLB seasons but also turned in strong numbers with the Cubs in Triple-A last year.

The 32-year-old Urena made five dismal starts for the Rockies early in the 2023 season and five solid ones for the White Sox late in the season. He also pitched well for Chicago’s Triple-A affiliate. A solid arm for the Marlins in 2017-18, Urena has a 5.50 ERA in 350 1/3 MLB frames dating back to 2019. He’s had a nice spring and could be a depth piece for an injury-plagued Rangers rotation.

Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi

Odorizzi signed last week and will look to get back on track after a shoulder injury cost him the 2023 season. With the exception of an injury-wrecked 2020 season, he’s been a dependable five-inning starter dating back to 2014 (3.98 ERA in 1216 innings). The Rays’ pitching staff is dealing with plenty of injuries, and Odorizzi should be an option for the Rays early in the season.

Red Sox: 1B C.J. Cron, RHP Michael Fulmer, C Roberto Perez, LHP Joely Rodriguez

Cron has four seasons of 25-plus homers under his belt and was consistently an above-average hitter from 2014-22. Injuries tanked his 2023 season, but he has a strong track record of hitting for power – with largely even platoon splits. He’d make a nice right-handed complement to Triston Casas and/or Masataka Yoshida at first base and designated hitter, providing some insurance against an injury to either.

Perez is an all-glove backup who’s never hit much outside the juiced ball season in 2019, when he popped 24 of his 55 career homers. The Sox figure to go with Reese McGuire and Connor Wong behind the plate, making him a long shot to land a roster spot.

Rodriguez signed a big league deal with the Red Sox prior to the 2023 season but only pitched 11 innings due to injury. He’s having a decent spring training – two runs on nine hits and three walks with nine strikeouts in seven innings – and has a good chance to win a spot in a patchwork Red Sox bullpen. If not, his ability to miss bats and pile up grounders would likely draw interest elsewhere.

Fulmer won’t pitch in 2024 after undergoing surgery last summer. His minor league deal is a two-year contract that stretches into 2025. The two sides knew this going into the arrangement and there’s no reason to expect he’ll opt out.

Royals: RHP Tyler Duffey

Duffey was a mainstay in the division-rival Twins’ bullpen and was a high-end setup option at his peak in 2019-21, posting a 2.89 ERA across 144 frames while fanning 29.8% of his opponents. His results slipped in 2022 as he lost some life on his fastball, and he pitched just two MLB frames with the Cubs in 2023. Duffey recently had a procedure to remove a cancerous mole from his shoulder that understandably halted his baseball activity for a bit. He’s hopeful he’ll pitch again this spring, and while the larger takeaway is relief that the melanoma was discovered and quickly treated, his track record could also give him a shot to crack the Royals’ bullpen early in the season.

White Sox: RHP Jesse Chavez, RHP Brad Keller, RHP Dominic Leone, 3B/1B Mike Moustakas, OF Kevin Pillar, RHP Bryan Shaw

Chavez, 40, has been excellent with the Braves in each of the past three seasons but struggled in stints with the Cubs and Angels. He’s having a tough spring with the White Sox but carries a 2.81 ERA in his past 137 2/3 MLB frames, spanning the 2021-23 seasons.

Keller has spent his entire big league career with the Royals but saw his time in Kansas City come to a rough ending. After a three-year run as a solid starter, Keller struggled in three subsequent seasons, culminating in an IL stint for symptoms indicative of thoracic outlet syndrome. He hasn’t pitched in an official spring game for the White Sox.

Leone struggled late in the 2023 season but has a cumulative 3.38 ERA in 157 innings over the past three seasons. He’s having a solid spring training, has late-inning experience, and seems like a decent bet to win a spot in a White Sox bullpen that’s been completely torn down since last summer.

Moustakas has turned in three straight below-average seasons at the plate and is struggling again with the White Sox in camp (.167/.268/.278 in 41 plate appearances). The Sox have Yoan Moncada and Andrew Vaughn at the corners, plus Gavin Sheets as a lefty-swinging first base option (and corner outfielder) off the bench. Moose seems like a long shot to make the club.

Pillar would give the Sox a right-handed complement to lefty-hitting corner outfielders Andrew Benintendi and Dominic Fletcher. He’s 35 and no longer the plus-plus defensive center fielder he once was but could give them some insurance for Luis Robert Jr. in center as well. He hit .228/.248/.416 with nine homers in 206 plate appearances for the Braves last year.

Shaw pitched 45 2/3 innings for the Sox last year and delivered a respectable 4.14 ERA in that time. His production has tailed off substantially since his days as a consistent setup presence in the Cleveland bullpen – evidenced by a 5.07 ERA over his past six seasons. He’s been tagged for a dozen earned runs in 7 1/3 spring frames but does have 10 strikeouts.

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