The Red Sox announced that they'll pick up David Ortiz' $12.5 million option for next season, as well as the option for Scott Atchison. The decision on Ortiz sounds like it was made awhile ago. It probably is an overpay, but it gives the team the team an enormous amount of flexibility next offseason, if they want to pursue a DH type such as Prince Fielder. They declined the options for Bill Hall ($9.25 million, $500,000 buyout) and Felipe Lopez. While Hall had a solid season as a super sub last year, playing every position but catcher and first base, the $9.25 million option was never really in play. It will be interesting to see if Hall can get a starting job somewhere, or if he'll decide that getting semi-regular PT all over the diamond is the way to go. Declining Lopez' option isn't a surprise either; the Red Sox picked him in late September, most likely hoping to get a compensatory draft pick out of him.
The one potential surprise in here is the Red Sox picking up Scott Atchison's option. The key thing to remember here is that the Red Sox are not necessarily expecting Atchison to be a huge contributor, but instead a solid option in the back of the bullpen. Atchison has a average strikeout rate (6.2 K/9), an average walk rate (2.85 BB/9), which unsurprisingly led to an average ERA on the season (4.50, ERA+=97, where 100 is league average). For $40,000 over the major league minimum, average is actually pretty good.