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Options Abound for the Red Sox

10.21.09 at 2:13 pm ET

The Red Sox hold (or, in some cases, held) options for the 2010 season on seven members of the club. If exercised, the players (in most cases) can be retained for next year. If declined by the team, then the players become free agents. Here is a quick look at those players, as well as the timelines for decisions about the options:

Josh Beckett (team option): His $12.1 million option for 2010 vested when he made his 28th start of the season on Sept. 7.

Alex Gonzalez (mutual option): The club has until five days after the World Series to make a decision about whether to exercise its $6 million option for next year. If it declines the option, it must pay a $500,000 buyout. Since it is a mutual option, if the Sox do pick up the option, Gonzalez would then have two days to decide whether to accept or decline the chance to return to Boston on that one-year, $6 million deal. If he declines the option, he also voids the buyout.

Victor Martinez (team option): The Sox have until five days after the World Series to make their decision on Martinez’ $7 million option for next year. Insofar as G.M. Theo Epstein has already proclaimed Martinez the team’s primary catcher for 2010, it would appear that the catcher/first baseman need not concern himself with the possibility of a $250,000 buyout.

Takashi Saito (team option): Based on his 2009 earnings, the Sox could have retained Saito on a one-year, $6 million deal with a potential $1.5 million in incentives for 2010. Instead, the team attempted to outright him, resulting in the right-hander declaring himself a free agent, thereby removing the possibility of an option. Saito remains open to the possibility of returning as a free agent. Indeed, the attempted outright assignment was done precisely so that Saito could become a free agent who was could re-sign with the Sox this offseason.

Jason Varitek (team and player options): The Sox have until five days after the World Series to decide whether to exercise their $5 million club option on Varitek for next season. If the Sox decline their option, then Varitek would have five days from the time of being notified of the club’s decision to decide whether or not to exercise a one-year, $3 million (with the possibility of another $2 million in incentives) player option.

Billy Wagner (team option): The Sox formally agreed not to pick up Wagner’s $8 million option for the 2010 season at the time that he agreed to waive his no-trade clause. Instead, the team is on the hook for his $1 million buy-out. The real intrigue with Wagner revolves around whether he will be offered arbitration, and if he is, whether he will accept it. As Wagner told Rob Bradford, he anticipates that the Sox will make the offer and he will decline it in order to become a free agent and pursue the opportunity to close elsewhere.

Tim Wakefield (team option): The Sox have until five days after the World Series to exercise their recurring $4 million option on Wakefield. Barring any setbacks following his “successful” surgery today, the Sox would appear likely to retain the services of a player who likely ranks as one of the top two free-agent bargains in Red Sox history.

Read More: Alex Gonzalez, billy wagner, Jason Varitek, Josh Beckett
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