Jenifer Langosch reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates expect to decline the options of Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder, with both decisions due five days after the end of the World Series. Neither decision is much of a surprise. Both catchers have missed a lot of time with injuries, and both catchers come with high priced options when you consider their production. Doumit’s option would essentially be a two year contract at $15.5 M, while Snyder’s would be a one year, $6.75 M deal. The Pirates will pay $500 K to buy out Doumit, and $750 K to buy out Snyder.
Buying out both players doesn’t necessarily mean the players will be gone. The Pirates can still negotiate with both players as free agents. They can also offer arbitration. If they offer arbitration and a player accepts, the Pirates get the player for a raise over his 2011 salary. That would be $5.2 M for Doumit and $5.75 M for Snyder. It would make sense to offer arbitration to Doumit, since you’re probably looking at a one year, $6 M deal, rather than a two year, $15.5 M deal. Also, if Doumit declines, the Pirates would get a compensation pick in the 2012 draft. It wouldn’t make sense to offer arbitration to Snyder, since his arbitration price, plus his $750 K buyout, would probably cost more than the initial $6.75 M option.
I wrote about the catching position last week, and looked at some of the available free agents. In my opinion, declining the options is the right move. The defense from both Snyder and Doumit has been poor the last few years, and ranks as some of the worst of the available catchers. The Pirates could commit $6.75 M for Snyder in 2012, or $15.5 M for Doumit over the next two years. Or they could take that money and get a better catcher, like Ramon Hernandez or Rod Barajas, and the latter wouldn’t cost a 2012 draft pick. It’s doubtful that either option would cost more than $6-7 M a year. Based on their 2011 contracts, both guys would probably be in the $4-5 M a year range, max.