Dodgers decline Casey Blake option

In what couldn't have come as a surprise to anyone, including the two players involved, the Los Angeles Dodgers officially declined the 2012 contract options on third baseman Casey Blake and right-hander Jon Garland, both of whom finished the season on the disabled list and both of whose futures are cloudy.

Additionally, the Dodgers outrighted Eugenio Velez, their famously hitless utility man, to Triple-A Albuquerque, removing him from the 40-man roster.

Blake, 38, did three separate stints on the disabled list this season, and that was before he missed all of September with a pinched nerve in his neck that required surgery. His option was for $6 million, and he receives a $1.25 million buyout.

Garland, 32, made just nine starts for the Dodgers after signing a one-year, $5 million contract last November. Before this season, he hadn't been on the DL since 2000 with the Chicago White Sox, but he wound up beginning the year there with an oblique strain he suffered in spring training, then was lost for the year in early June with right-shoulder inflammation that required surgery.

Garland had an $8 million option but instead gets a $500,000 buyout which was included in the original $5 million guarantee.

Both Blake and Garland become free agents as a result of the Dodgers moves. The Dodgers could re-sign either of them at a lesser price, but they become free to negotiate with other clubs shortly after the end of the World Series.

Velez, who signed with the Dodgers as a minor league free agent last winter, was promoted to the majors from Albuquerque on July 4 and is hitless in his last 46 at-bats. He got little playing time, starting just seven games.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com.