D-backs decline 2022 options for Calhoun, Clippard

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PHOENIX (AP)The Arizona Diamondbacks have declined the 2022 options for outfielder Kole Calhoun and reliever Tyler Clippard, allowing both players to become free agents.

The Diamondbacks also announced Thursday that they will keep right-handed starting pitcher Merrill Kelly, exercising his option for the 2022 season.

The 34-year-old Calhoun will get a $2 million buyout. The 36-year-old Clippard is due $500,000.

Calhoun was one of the Diamondbacks’ best players in the shortened 2020 season, leading the team with 16 homers. The Arizona native struggled through an injury-riddled 2021 season, playing in just 51 games and batting .235 with five homers. He has 161 career homers over 10 seasons in the big leagues.

Clippard hurt his right throwing shoulder during spring training and missed a big chunk of the 2021 season. He had a 3.20 ERA in 26 appearances.

The decision to bring back the 33-year-old Kelly makes sense because he has a team-friendly contract that’s worth $5.25 million next season. Kelly was arguably the best starter for the Diamondbacks last season, finishing with a 7-11 record and 4.44 ERA.

Arizona is expected to go with mostly young players in 2022. The Diamondbacks are rebuilding after finishing 52-110 last season, which was the second worst record in franchise history.

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