Five Dodgers become free agents
Club declines options on Utley, Peralta, Arroyo while Ruggiano, Heisey elect free agency
LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers Chase Utley, Joel Peralta, Bronson Arroyo, Justin Ruggiano and Chris Heisey became free agents on Friday.
The club declined options on Utley, Peralta and Arroyo, while Ruggiano and Heisey elected free agency.
The 36-year-old Utley, acquired from Philadelphia to fill in for injured second baseman Howie Kendrick, hit .202 for the Dodgers in 34 games and will be remembered for his takeout slide that broke the leg of Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in the National League Division Series. The option was for $15 million and would have vested if Utley had 500 plate appearances, but he missed considerable time with an ankle injury.
The 38-year-old Arroyo, a former All-Star, was a salary dump as part of the complicated Hector Olivera trade to Atlanta. He spent the entire 2015 season recovering from Tommy John surgery and the Dodgers declined his $11 million 2016 salary. Atlanta is responsible for paying Arroyo a $4.5 million buyout.
The 39-year-old Peralta, acquired last winter from Tampa Bay, finished with a 4.34 ERA in a season plagued by injuries from the day he reported to Spring Training, nearly requiring mid-season neck surgery. The club declined his $2.5 million salary, but he is a favorite of president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman and could return in some role.
Ruggiano, who made $2.505 million in 2015, would have been eligible for salary arbitration had he remained on the 40-man roster. The Dodgers outrighted him to clear a roster spot.
Ruggiano, 33, was purchased from the Seattle Mariners at the Aug. 31 waiver Trade Deadline and filled in for the injured Yasiel Puig against left-handed pitching, batting .291 with a .968 OPS. But he was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the postseason.
The 30-year-old Heisey, acquired in a trade last winter from Cincinnati for Matt Magill, hit .182 in five stints with the Dodgers.
Outfielders still on the 40-man roster: Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier, Kiké Hernandez, Joc Pederson, Puig, Scott Schebler and Scott Van Slyke.