Kyle Schwarber declined his option with the Boston Red Sox and will become a free agent. David J. Phillip/Associated Pressd

The first domino of the Red Sox’ offseason has fallen.

Kyle Schwarber has declined his $11.5 mutual option, a source confirmed to the Boston Herald, making the Red Sox infielder/outfielder a free agent this winter.

Because he was traded midseason, the Red Sox will not be able to extend Schwarber a qualifying offer.

Schwarber’s decision comes as no surprise. He’s likely to earn more money on the open market after his first All-Star season in 2021, as he totaled 32 home runs, 71 RBI and posted a slash line of .266/.374/.554 with a career-high .928 OPS in 113 games between the Nationals and Red Sox.

Schwarber was a significant boost to the Red Sox after they acquired him at the trade deadline, slashing .291/.435/.522 and a .957 OPS in 41 games – all while learning a new position – as he helped them come two wins short of a berth in the World Series.

The decision doesn’t mean Schwarber won’t return to the Red Sox. Schwarber quickly became a fan favorite in his three months in Boston and said he’d like to be back.

“This is definitely a clubhouse that I could see myself wanting to stay in,” Schwarber said after the Red Sox’ season-ending loss to the Astros. “These guys are amazing. I said this, it’s two World Series teams going at it. This is a World Series clubhouse, and I would love to hopefully see if that opportunity comes back.”

There are more decisions involving the Red Sox that need to be sorted out by the end of the weekend. J.D. Martinez will need to decide whether to opt in or out of the final year of his contract at $19.35 million, and the Red Sox have team option decisions on Christian Vazquez ($7 million), Martin Perez ($6 million) and Garrett Richards ($10 million). They also have until Sunday to extend a qualifying offer to Eduardo Rodriguez.

INDIANS: Cleveland picked up José Ramírez’s $12 million contract option for 2022 after the All-Star third baseman had another MVP-caliber season.

Ramírez was one of the only bright spots for the team’s inconsistent offense. The 29-year-old batted .266 with 36 homers, 103 RBI and 27 steals in the final year of a team-friendly $26 million, four-year deal.

The Indians, who will be known as the Guardians next season, also declined a $7 million option for catcher Roberto Pérez and hired Chris Valaika as their hitting coach.

ASTROS: Dusty Baker will return as manager for a third season after agreeing to a one-year contract with the AL champions.

HALL OF FAME: Gil Hodges, Roger Maris and Minnie Miñoso are among 10 men on the ballot of the Golden Days Era committee for baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Dick Allen, Ken Boyer, Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Billy Pierce and Maury Wills also are on the ballot along with former Pittsburgh manager Danny Murtaugh, the Hall said.

The vote by the 16-person committee, whose members will be announced later, is scheduled for Dec. 5 at the winter meetings in Orlando, Florida. Its ballot considers players whose primary contributions were from 1950-69.

A separate 16-person early baseball era committee also will meet to consider pre-1950 candidates. That ballot includes seven players from the Negro Leagues: John Donaldson, Bud Fowler, Vic Harris, Grant “Home Run” Johnson, Buck O’Neil, Dick “Cannonball” Redding and George Scales.

They are joined by Bill Dahlen, Lefty O’Doul, Allie Reynolds and George Scales.

To gain election from either committee, a candidate must appear on at least 75% of ballots.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.