| Associated Press
Pittsburgh – Chris Archer’s $11 million option for 2021 has been declined by the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the 32-year-old right-hander became a free agent.
Archer will receive a $250,000 buyout, completing a contract he agreed to with Tampa Bay in April 2014. The deal originally guaranteed $25.5 million over six seasons and included a $9 million club option for 2020 that the Pirates exercised.
Archer was a two-time All-Star with the Rays, then was traded to the Pirates on July 31, 2018, for right-hander Tyler Glasnow, outfielder Austin Meadows and a player to be named, who later became minor league right-hander Shane Baz.
Archer disappointed with the Pirates, going 6-12 with a 4.92 ERA in 33 starts, including 3-9 with a 5.19 ERA in 2019. Glasnow and Meadows became important players who helped the Rays reach the World Series this year for the first time since 2008.
Archer reported discomfort in the neck/shoulder area on his right side in shortly before spring training was stopped due to the COVID-19 pandemic and had season-ending surgery June 2 with Dr. Robert Thompson to relieve symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome. His prorated pay in the pandemic-shortened season was reduced to $3,333,333.
In his big league career, Archer is 60-80 with a 3.86 ERA in 210 starts and two relief appearances. His average fastball velocity dropped from 95.75 mph in 2017 to 93.30 mph in 2019.
Castellanos stays put
Former Detroit Tigers outfielder Nick Castellanos decided not to opt out and is keeping the remainder of his contract with the Cincinnati Reds that guarantees $48 million for the next three seasons.
The 28-year-old hit .225 with 14 homers and 34 RBIs in the pandemic-shortened season, his first with the Reds after signing a $64 million, four-year contract as a free agent. His pay was reduced from $16 million to $5,925,926 prorated because of the shortened season.
His deal gave him the right to opt out and become a free agent again following the 2020 World Series. Instead, he keeps salaries of $14 million for 2021 and $16 million each for 2022 and 2023 plus a $20 million mutual option for 2024 with a $2 million buyout.
Castellanos also has the right to opt out of the deal after the 2021 World Series.
Rizzo remains with Cubs
The Chicago Cubs picked up their $16.5 million option for Anthony Rizzo, bringing back the popular first baseman after he struggled during the pandemic-shortened season.
The 31-year-old Rizzo hit just .222 this year for his lowest batting average since his first year in the majors in 2011. But he has been one of the majors’ most productive sluggers since he was acquired in a 2012 trade with San Diego. He’s also a key clubhouse leader for the NL Central champions.
Rizzo would have been owed a $2 million buyout had the Cubs declined his option. The team could try to extend his deal to create some salary relief for next season after losing money this year because of the pandemic.
The Cubs also declined their $3.5 million option for infielder Daniel Descalso, who missed last season because of a left ankle sprain. The 34-year-old Descalso is owed a $1 million buyout.
Chicago declined left-hander Jon Lester’s $25 million mutual option on Friday, but each side has left the door open for a possible return.
Rizzo hit at least 25 homers and drove in at least 101 runs for four consecutive years from 2015-18. He has 228 homers in nine seasons with the Cubs, ranking eighth in franchise history.
Rizzo hit 11 homers and 24 RBIs in 58 games this year. He is a finalist for his fourth Gold Glove Award.
Kahnle is free agent
The New York Yankees have let Tommy Kahnle become a free agent rather than allow him to become eligible for salary arbitration ahead of a season he is likely to largely miss while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
The team said that the hard-throwing 31-year-old right-hander had refused an outright assignment to the minor leagues and elected to become a free agent, Kahnle’s right as a player with at least three years of major league service.
Kahnle has 5 years, 131 days of major league service and despite the injury would have been likely to get a raise after making $2.65 million last season.
He had Tommy John surgery on Aug. 4 with Yankees head physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and is likely to return in late 2021 or at the start of the 2022 season. His absence was a factor in the Yankees’ loss to Tampa Bay in the AL Division Series, when Aroldis Chapman gave up a go-ahead home run to Mike Brosseau (Oakland University) in the eighth inning of Game 5.