The Washington Nationals have exercised their $12 million team option on Gio Gonzalez, retaining him for the 2017 season. Meanwhile, Yusmeiro Petit’s $3 million team option has been bought out for $500,000, making him a free agent.
The left-handed starter Gonzalez is coming off of a bit of a down year in which he set a personal worst in home runs allowed with 19. Gonzalez has seen his strikeout rate dip by two percentage points since the 2014 campaign, and has become a bit of a groundball specialist instead. Unfortunately though, even his groundball rate took a hit, declining by six percentage points on last season.
sources: nats will pick up gio gonzalez $12M option (not a shock, @chelsea_janes called it "likely")— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 3, 2016
Picking up Gonzalez’s option is still unsurprising though. According to FanGraphs $/WAR estimations, the 31-year-old southpaw was worth $23 million in a down year. With how thin the free agent market is this upcoming offseason—especially in pitching—it’s not outlandish to imagine Gonzalez getting more than double what the Nationals will pay him next season. Gonzalez has a mutual option looming for the 2018 season worth another $12 million. At this point, it would be surprising if Gonzalez accepted that.
Petit on the other hand has been bought out for $500,000. If the Nationals exercised his option, he would have been owed $3 million for the upcoming season. While that isn’t a lot, the 31-year old is coming off of two consecutive seasons of below replacement level play. By FanGraphs’ $/WAR estimations, Petit has cost his team—that’s negative value—nearly $2 million in productivity.