Friday, November 02, 2018 1:00 am
Heyward among those staying put
NEW YORK – Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward and San Francisco reliever Mark Melancon let the deadline pass for exercising opt-out provisions in their contracts.
Doing the same were two Cuban outfielders who have been major disappointments and spent all of this season in the minor leagues: Boston's Rusney Castillo and Arizona's Yasmany Tomas.
Heyward keeps the $184 million, eight-year deal that pays him $106 million in the next five seasons. The others all have two years left in their contracts: Melancon is owed $28 million, Tomas $32.5 million and Castillo $24.5 million.
They had to make their decisions by Wednesday night.
Heyward, 29, who in 2016 helped the Cubs to their first title in 108 years, hit .270 with eight homers and 58 RBI in 127 games. He is owed $20 million in 2019, $21 million in each of the following two seasons and $22 million apiece in the final two years. If he has 550 plate appearances next year, he would again have the right to void the deal and become a free agent.
The Cubs also exercised their $6.25 million option for Pedro Strop and claimed outfielder Johnny Field off waivers from Minnesota. Strop, 33, went 6-1 with 13 saves and a 2.26 ERA in 60 appearances. Field made his major league debut this year and hit .222 with nine homers and 21 RBI in 83 games with the Twins and Tampa Bay.
Melancon, 33, was 1-4 with a 3.23 ERA and three saves in 41 relief appearances. He has made 73 appearances in the first two seasons of a $62 million, four-year deal and is due $14 million in each of the final two seasons.
Castillo, 31, has appeared in just 99 games since agreeing in August 2014 to a $72.5 million, seven-year contract and has not played in the majors since he was sent outright to the minors in June of 2016.
He hit .319 with five homers and 59 RBI for Triple-A Pawtucket this year and is owed $11 million next year and $13.5 million in 2020. By keeping him in the minors, the Red Sox ensured his salary would not count on their luxury-tax payroll.
Tomas, who turns 28 this month, was sent outright to the minors April 2 and hit .262 with 14 homers and 65 RBI for Triple-A Reno. His $68.5 million, six-year deal calls for $15.5 million next year and $17 million in 2020.