A.J. Burnett and the Phillies both declined their $15 million mutual option yesterday, leaving the pitcher to decide whether to exercise his $12.75 million player option.
The 37-year-old Burnett went 8-18 with a 4.59 ERA in 34 starts during his first season with the Phillies and has said he isn't sure whether he wants to pitch next season. He has until Monday to decide on the player option.
Ten more players became free agents yesterday, raising the total to 130, and up to 13 more could join them by Monday, depending on option decisions.
* Joe Maddon was hired as manager of the Chicago Cubs yesterday, hours after the team fired Rick Renteria. The Cubs, without a World Series title since 1908, announced the hiring about 2 hours after announcing the firing.
Long regarded as one of baseball's best managers, Maddon opted out of his contract with Tampa Bay after Andrew Friedman left the Rays' front office to take over the Los Angeles Dodgers' baseball operations on Oct. 14. Maddon had a 754-705 record in nine seasons in Tampa Bay, leading the club to four playoff appearances, two AL East titles and a five-game loss to the Phillies in the 2008 World Series. The two-time AL Manager of the Year was the bench coach for six seasons under Angels manager Mike Scioscia, then was hired by Tampa Bay in November 2005.
Renteria had 2 years left on the contract he signed with the Cubs last November. Cubs President Theo Epstein said Renteria deserved to come back next season as the Cubs continue their rebuilding effort, but Maddon's unexpected decision to opt out of his contract with the Rays changed the equation.
"We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization," Epstein said. "In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe."