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Which hitters are due for a 2018 rebound?

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St. Louis Cardinals not picking up 2021 option on Kolten Wong

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The St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday declined Kolten Wong‘s $12.5 million option for the 2021 season, allowing their longtime second baseman to become a free agent.

The Cardinals will pay Wong a $1 million buyout.

“We have both agreed to keep the door open,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak told reporters, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

If the Cardinals do not re-sign Wong, Tommy Edman would be the team’s starting second baseman, Mozeliak said.

Wong, 30, hit .265 with a home run and 16 RBIs in 53 games this season. In eight seasons with the Cardinals, he has a .261 average with 53 home runs and 281 RBIs.

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Washington Nationals decline 2021 options for Adam Eaton, Anibal Sanchez, Howie Kendrick

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The Washington Nationals on Wednesday declined their club options for the 2021 season on outfielder Adam Eaton and right-hander Anibal Sanchez.

Washington also declined their portion of mutual options on infielder Howie Kendrick and Eric Thames.

Eaton’s option was worth $10.5 million, and the Nationals will pay him a $1.5 million buyout. Sanchez’s option was worth $12 million and he will receive a $2 million buyout. Kendrick will receive a $2.25 million buyout after his $6.5 million mutual option was declined, while Thames will receive $1 million following the declining of his $4 million mutual option.

Eaton, 31, struggled at the plate this season, hitting just .226 with four home runs and 17 RBIs. He hit .320 in the 2019 World Series for the Nats, hitting two homers with six RBIs in helping Washington win its first title. Overall, in four seasons for Washington he hit .279 with 26 homers and 112 RBIs after being acquired in a 2016 trade that sent now-White Sox ace Lucas Giolito to Chicago. The White Sox also acquired right-handers Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning in the deal.

Sanchez, 36, went 4-5 with a 6.62 ERA in 11 starts for Washington last season. In two seasons with the Nationals he was 15-13 with a 4.52 ERA in 41 starts. He was 1-1 in three starts in the 2019 postseason during Washington’s run to a championship.

Kendrick, 37, hit .275 with two home runs and 14 RBIs last season. In four seasons with Washington, he hit .316 with 30 home runs and 113 RBIs. He hit .280 with a home run and three RBIs during the World Series in 2019.

Thames, 33, hit .203 with three home runs and 12 RBIs for Washington in 2020, his first season with the club.

All four players are now free agents.

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Justin Turner disregarded coronavirus protocols

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Major League Baseball on Wednesday said it is beginning an investigation into the actions of Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Justin Turner, who was pulled from Game 6 of the World Series after testing positive for COVID-19 but still took the field after the game to celebrate the title with his teammates.

In a statement, the league was critical of the veteran third baseman, saying he put everyone around him at risk despite MLB security telling him not to return to the field.

“…Following the Dodgers’ victory, it is clear that Turner chose to disregard the agreed-upon joint protocols and the instructions he was given regarding the safety and protection of others,” it said. “While a desire to celebrate is understandable, Turner’s decision to leave isolation and enter the field was wrong and put everyone he came in contact with at risk. When MLB Security raised the matter of being on the field with Turner, he emphatically refused to comply.”

Turner tested positive and was pulled from the team’s World Series-clinching 3-1 win in Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night in Arlington, Texas.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed the positive test after the game, telling Fox: “It’s a bittersweet night for us.”

Turner was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts before coming out of the game to start the eighth inning. The team did not give a reason for his exit when he left.

“Thanks to everyone reaching out!” Turner tweeted after the game. “I feel great, no symptoms at all. Just experienced every emotion you can possibly imagine. Can’t believe I couldn’t be out there to celebrate with my guys! So proud of this team & unbelievably happy for the City of LA #WorldSeriesChamps.”

MLB’s statement Wednesday said that further testing is being implemented.

“Last night, nasal swabs were conducted on the Dodgers’ traveling party,” the league said. “Both the Rays and Dodgers were tested again today and their travel back to their home cities will be determined after being approved by the appropriate authorities.”

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