The Kansas City Royals have announced that the team and catcher Miguel Olivo have picked up their mutual options, guaranteeing a contract for the 2009 season. In addition, the parties agreed to a mutual option for the 2010 season. Consistent with team policy, terms of the Olivo contract were not disclosed.
The Royals also have selected the contract of catcher Brayan Pena, adding him to their 40-man roster, while assigning catcher Matt Tupman and pitcher Yasuhiko Yabuta outright to Omaha. Yabuta had the right to elect free agency, but chose to accept the assignment. The Royals also announced that the Toronto Blue Jays have claimed infielder Angel Sanchez on Outright Waivers. With today's moves, the Royals roster now stands at 39.
The off season moves keep coming...
I'm kind of surprised Olivo agreed to return. Under terms of his contract, the Royals held the option to bring Olivo back at $2.7 million next year. If the Royals didn't want to pick up his option, they would be on the hook for a $100,000 buyout. But if the Royals picked up the option, Olivo then had his own option where he could void and forfeit his buyout and become a free agent.
Basically, Olivo feels he can't do better than the $2.7 million the Royals will pay him next year. Care to disagree? He hit .255/.278/.444 for the Royals last year. My favorite stat however, is his walk rate of 2.2% against a strikeout rate of 26.8%. OK, that's really two stats, but isn't that the great thing about this blog. I promise one thing and then over-deliver.
Unfortunately, Olivo is going to give us exactly what we expect.
Like the Mike Jacobs deal, the power is nice, the OBP is not. With the plethora of personnel they have at the 1B/DH spot, why couldn't they buyout Olivo and bring Pena up as a backup to John Buck? When you just added an OBP challenged hacker who will earn roughly $3.5 million after arbitration (if it goes that far) why would you pay a similar player similar money? I know there are going to be more moves and GMDM has a plan, but it's things like this that make me wonder.
Last year, I wasn't a fan on the Olivo acquisition because I felt that Buck was basically the same player. I think their performance of the last year supports that theory. Defensively, Olivo has a better arm, but Buck is better preventing pitches from going to the backstop. And I think the starters are generally more comfortable with Buck behind the plate. Which is why I'm puzzled by both sides coming together on this deal.
Maybe they'll non-tender Buck and hand Olivo the starting job. There's no reason to keep both of these guys around for another year.