CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs exercised their $6.25 million option for Pedro Strop on Thursday, and fellow reliever Brandon Kintzler picked up his $5 million player option.
Strop can earn $750,000 in performance bonuses next year based on games finished: $250,000 each for 45, 50 and 55 games. He has never finished more than 22 games in a single season.
Strop would have received a $500,000 buyout if the option had been declined.
The Cubs have to make another decision on one of their key pitchers by Friday when they face a deadline on whether to exercise Cole Hamels’ option for 2019. Hamels, who turns 35 in December, went 4-3 with a 2.36 ERA in 12 starts after he was acquired in a July 27 trade with Texas.
Hamels’ option is for $19 million. If the Cubs decline the option and pay a $6 million buyout, the Rangers would pay the Cubs an additional $6 million.
Chicago could decline the option and work out a new contract with the left-hander, who is 156-114 with a 3.40 ERA in 13 big league seasons.
Kintzler had a 7.00 ERA in 25 games with Chicago after he was acquired in a July 31 trade with Washington. The Cubs declined their $10 million team option on Tuesday.
Chicago also claimed outfielder Johnny Field off waivers from Minnesota on Thursday. Field made his major league debut this year and hit .222 with nine homers and 21 RBIs in 83 games with the Twins and Tampa Bay Rays.
Strop, one of the baseball’s most consistent relievers since he was acquired in a July 2013 trade with Baltimore, went 6-1 with 13 saves and a 2.26 ERA in 60 appearances last season.
The 33-year-old right-hander hurt his left hamstring while running to first base at Washington on Sept. 13. He missed the rest of the regular season and then threw a scoreless inning in Chicago’s wild-card loss to Colorado.
Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward let the deadline pass for exercising an opt-out provision in his contract. Heyward keeps the $184 million, eight-year deal that pays him $106 million in the next five seasons.
The 29-year-old Heyward, who in 2016 helped the Cubs to their first title in 108 years, hit .270 with eight homers and 58 RBIs in 127 games this season. He is owed $20 million in 2019, $21 million in each of the following two seasons and $22 million apiece in the final two years. If he has 550 plate appearances next year, he would again have the right to void the deal and become a free agent.
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