The Blue Jays announced their option decisions on Saturday, exercising their club option on left-hander J.A. Happ ($6.7 million) while declining their options on right-handers Dustin McGowan ($4 million), Brandon Morrow ($10 million) and Sergio Santos ($6 million). McGowan, Morrow and Santos will each become free agents immediately.
Happ, 32, was 11-11 with a 4.22 ERA in 158 innings as a starter for the Jays last season. The decision on his option could have gone either way, but the Jays likely figured that he would be worth more than $6.7 million per year on the open market. The eight-year veteran will become a free agent after the 2015 season.
McGowan, who turns 33 in March, will receive a $500K buyout from the Jays as a result of his option being declined. The righty has struggled with injuries over the last few seasons, and appeared in 53 games (8 starts) with the Jays last season while posting a 5-3 record and 4.17 ERA in 82 innings.
Morrow, 30, receives a $1 million buyout from the Jays and will be an interesting starting pitching candidate on the free agent market. The right-hander has struggled mightily in each of the last two years, posting a 5.63 ERA and 5.67 ERA in limited time each season, but could intrigue teams after posting a 2.96 ERA in 21 starts in 2012.
Santos, 31, gets a $750K buyout from the team after they declined his option in a no-brainer decision. The former White Sox closer was designated for assignment multiple times in 2014 while posting an 8.57 ERA for the Jays at the major league level and was unable to regain the form that led to his 1.75 ERA in 25.2 innings during the 2013 season.