Baseball's offseason market got busy even faster than usual Tuesday, with teams forced to make quick decisions on contract options as they prepare offers to a relatively weak free-agent class headed by Cliff Lee and Carl Crawford.
Under modifications agreed to by players and owners in September, free agents may start negotiating with all clubs on the sixth day after the World Series, which will be Sunday, rather than on Nov. 16.
Teams and players must decide single options by the third day after the World Series. For mutual options, the side making the first decision must act by the second day, with the other party deciding by the fourth.
Lee is the top available pitcher on the free-agent market, and the New York Yankees are set to pursue him.
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Traded from Seattle to Texas during the season, Lee helped the Rangers reach the World Series for the first time, and Rangers president Nolan Ryan hopes to re-sign him.
Crawford also is expected to be highly sought-after, with the Los Angeles Angels and Yankees thought to be interested in the speedy outfielder.
The Yankees hope to re-sign their trio of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte — who still hasn’t decided whether to pitch next year or retire.
Other free agents include Philadelphia right fielder Jayson Werth, Boston catcher Victor Martinez, White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, Tampa Bay slugger Carlos Pena and closer Rafael Soriano and Angels designated hitter Hideki Matsui.
Texas must make a quick decision on whether to exercise its half of a $9 million mutual option on Vladimir Guerrero or pay the designated hitter a $1 million buyout.
In a sign the market might be tight after the top free agents, Arizona declined a $7.5 million option on first baseman Adam LaRoche on Tuesday. He gets a $1.5 million buyout after hitting .261 with 25 homers and 100 RBI in his first season with the Diamondbacks.
Other players whose teams declined options include Brewers reliever Trevor Hoffman and catcher Gregg Zaun, Braves outfielder Rick Ankiel and pitcher Kyle Farnsworth, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta and Orioles pitcher Mark Hendrickson.
Also on Tuesday, the Padres exercised a $5.9 million option on All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and the White Sox agreed to a one-year contract with 43-year-old infielder Omar Vizquel.
MARLINS KEEP INTERIM MANAGER RODRIGUEZ
Edwin Rodriguez will get to start what he finished — a season as manager of the Florida Marlins.
After considering other candidates, the Marlins have decided to keep Rodriguez, who became the first Puerto Rican manager in the major leagues when he took over as interim manager June 23 after Fredi Gonzalez was fired. Rodriguez, who has been in baseball 30 years, managed Florida’s Triple-A team in New Orleans before getting his first big league job.
The team is expected to announce the hiring today.
Gonzalez was dismissed with Florida at 34-36 and in fourth place in the NL East. Rodriguez went 46-46, and the Marlins finished third.
MILWAUKEE HIRES ROENICKE AS MANAGER
Ron Roenicke showed he can win as a fill-in manager. Now he gets a chance to do it every day.
The Milwaukee Brewers have hired the Los Angeles Angels’ bench coach to be their new manager. An announcement is expected as soon as today.
The 54-year-old Roenicke has been a member of the Angels’ coaching staff for 11 seasons, including the past five as bench coach. He won each time he subbed for Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia – a perfect 7 for 7.
Roenicke replaces Ken Macha, who was let go after two disappointing seasons.
AROUND THE HORN
Television ratings for this year’s World Series between the Giants and Rangers matched the record low for the 2008 Phillies-Rays World Series, which also went five games. The average rating was down 28 percent from last year’s Yankees-Phillies series. J.P. Ricciardi was hired as a special assistant to Mets general manager Sandy Alderson. Ricciardi was GM of the Blue Jays from 2001-09 before spending last season as a baseball analyst with ESPN. The Red Sox hired Oakland pitching coach Curt Young for the same position. The Nationals hired Bo Porter as their third-base coach to replace Pat Listach, while keeping the rest of manager Jim Riggleman’s staff. Former player Elijah Dukes, 26, has been jailed in Tampa, Fla., on charges related to allegedly failing to pay child support.