ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Tampa Bay Rays have a declined a $13 million club option on centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier for next season, triggering a $2.5 million buyout and making the defensive whiz a free agent Thursday.
Kiermaier, 32, a Bishop Luers product, spent parts of 10 seasons with the Rays, who drafted him in the 31st round in 2010. He’s a three-time Gold Glove winner who batted .248 with 82 homers, 316 RBI and 112 stolen bases over 914 games.
The expected move, which completed a $53.5 million, six-year contract, was expected after Kiermaier was limited by to 63 games this year. He last played on July 9 in Cincinnati and had season-ending surgery on his left hip in August.
Kiermaier, a Gold Glove winner in 2015, 2016 and 2019, hit .228 with seven homers and 22 RBI this year. He appeared in 29 postseason game for the Rays, batting .220 with four homers and 11 RBI.
Justin Verlander declined a $25 million option with the Houston Astros to become a free agent, five days after helping the team with its second World Series title. The 39-year-old right-hander went 18-4 with a major league-best 1.75 ERA in 28 starts, then was 2-0 with a 5.85 ERA in four postseason outings. He is 244-133 with a 3.24 ERA and 3,198 strikeouts in 17 seasons.
Judge, deGrom get
Aaron Judge, Jacob deGrom and Xander Bogaerts were among 14 free agents who were given $19.65 million qualifying offers by their former teams on Thursday
Dansby Swanson, Trea Turner, Willson Contreras and Carlos Rodón also were given the offers, as were Chris Bassitt, Brandon Nimmo, Nathan Eovaldi, Anthony Rizzo, Joc Pederson, Martín Pérez and Tyler Anderson.
Players have until Nov. 20 to accept, and top players are expected to decline and pursue more lucrative long-term contracts on the free-agent market. Players can discuss financial offers with all teams starting today.
The Dodgers declined their $16 million option on two-time All-Star Justin Turner. Also not receiving a qualifying offer for the second straight year was Clayton Kershaw, who will have additional time to consider his future. ... Reliever Robert Suarez agreed to remain with the Padres under a $46 million, five-year contract. ... The Brewers declined the $3 million 2023 team option on right-handed reliever Brad Boxberger. ... The Pirates acquired first baseman Ji-Man Choi from the Ray. ... The Mets exercised a $14 million option on right-hander Carlos Carrasco. ... The Blue Jays exercised a $3 million option on reliever Anthony Bass.