February 27, 2024

Chicago Cubs slugger Cody Bellinger declined his end of a $25 million mutual option for 2024 on Friday and will test the free-agent market coming off a bounce-back season.

The 2019 NL MVP, Bellinger is in line for a huge payday after hitting .307 with 26 homers and 97 RBIs. It was quite a turnaround for a player cut by the Los Angeles Dodgers in November after being limited by injuries and experiencing a drastic decline on offense.

The Cubs signed Bellinger to a $17.5 million, one-year contract, and he helped them stay in playoff contention until late in the year. Chicago finished second in the NL Central at 83-79 after consecutive losing seasons.

Bellinger had a $12.5 million salary this year and gets a $5 million buyout.

The Cubs declined their end of a $5 million mutual option on veteran right-hander Brad Boxberger. He receives an $800,000 buyout.

Boxberger was limited to 22 relief appearances because of a strained right forearm and finished with a 4.95 ERA this season. He had a $2 million salary.

White Sox decline Hendriks option

The Chicago White Sox declined their $15 million club option on closer Liam Hendriks.

The White Sox also said right-hander Mike Clevinger had declined his $12 million mutual option. Veteran outfielders Clint Frazier and Trayce Thompson were outrighted to Triple-A Charlotte.

Hendriks is owed a $15 million buyout that will be paid in 10 equal installments from 2024-33. Clevinger receives a $4 million buyout.

Hendriks, a 34-year-old right-hander, returned in May after beginning the season on the injured list to continue his treatment for Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

He could miss the 2024 season after he had surgery in August to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

Miley declines option

Left-hander Wade Miley declined his part of a $10 million mutual option for 2024 with the Milwaukee Brewers, as first reported by MLB.com, making him a free agent.

Miley went 9-4 with a 3.14 ERA in 23 starts this season to help the Brewers win the NL Central title. He struck out 79 and walked 38 in 120⅓ innings.

Miley, who turns 37 this month, gets a $1 million buyout. He had a $3.5 million salary this year and earned a $500,000 bonus for innings pitched.

Turner declines option with Red Sox

Justin Turner declined his $13.4 million player option with the Boston Red Sox

Turner signed as a free agent with the Red Sox last offseason, and hit .276 with 23 home runs.

Also, Boston declined right-hander Corey Kluber‘s club option. The veteran starter made just nine starts in his only season with Boston, sporting a 7.04 ERA.

Carpenter, Lugo make decisions

First baseman Matt Carpenter exercised a $5.5 million option for 2024 in his contract with the San Diego Padres, and reliever Seth Lugo declined a $7.5 million player option.

Carpenter signed a two-year deal last offseason that guaranteed $12 million. The first baseman/designated hitter batted .176 with five homers and 31 RBIs, down from a .315 average with 15 homers and 37 RBIs in 47 games when he revived his career with the New York Yankees in 2022.

A three-time All-Star with St. Louis from 2011-21, the 37-year-old Carpenter has a .260 career average with 175 homers and 644 RBIs.

Lugo, a 33-year-old right-hander, had a $7.5 million salary with San Diego this year and earned $1.25 million in performance bonuses based on starts. He was 8-7 with a 3.57 ERA in 26 starts.

Lugo was with the New York Mets from 2016-22 and has a 40-31 career record with a 3.50 ERA.

Marlins’ Soler hits market

Outfielder Jorge Soler opted out of the final year of his contract with the Miami Marlins to become a free agent, giving up a $13 million salary for 2024.

The 31-year-old Cuban agreed before the 2022 season to a three-year contract guaranteeing $36 million.

Soler hit .269 with 36 homers and 75 RBIs this year, becoming a first-time All-Star. This was his best season since he had an American League-high 48 homers and 117 RBIs for Kansas City in 2019.

Tigers decline retiring Cabrera’s option

The Detroit Tigers declined their $30 million option of retiring star Miguel Cabrera and will pay an $8 million buyout that completes a $292 million, 10-year contract.

Half of the buyout is deferred without interest.

A 12-time All-Star and four-time batting champion, Cabrera is a two-time AL MVP. In 2012, he became the first AL Triple Crown winner since Boston’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.

Narváez sticking with Mets

Mets catcher Omar Narváez exercised a $7 million player option for 2024 rather than become a free agent.

Narváez hit .211 with two homers and seven RBIs as a backup to rookie Francisco Alvarez. The 31-year-old had an $8 million salary in 2023.

An eight-year major league veteran, Narváez has a .255 average with 53 homers and 198 RBIs for the White Sox (2016-18), Seattle (2019), Milwaukee (2020-22) and the Mets. He was an All-Star with the Brewers in 2022, when he hit .266 with 11 homers and 49 RBIs.

Athletics’ Rucinski to hit free agency

Drew Rucinski‘s $5 million option for next season was declined by the Oakland Athletics, allowing the right-hander to become a free agent.

The 34-year-old missed the start of the season with a strained left hamstring, then was 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in four starts in a season cut short on May 15 by a stomach illness. He had a $3 million salary.

Rucinski is 4-8 with a 6.25 ERA in a five-year big-league career that included time with the Los Angeles Angels (2014-2015), Minnesota (2017) and Miami (2018). He pitched in South Korea with the NC Dinos from 2019 to 2022.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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