Although the deadline for tender decisions is tonight at 11pm CT, I imagine that we’ll hear things throughout the day – either official decisions or mere whispers – from all around baseball. The Cubs’ decisions on whether to tender their own 11 arbitration-eligible players is only the tip of the iceberg. You’ve also got the other 29 teams making their decisions, which could implicate minor trades and/or newly-available free agents. You’ve got the pre-arb players on the roster who might be dumped today in favor of roster space. And you’ve got whatever moves might come about because of the aforementioned bits. To be clear, it’s unlikely that we’d see anything major today tied to the arbitration tender deadline, but it’s a fair bet we’ll see some things from around baseball and with the Cubs, specifically.
So, with that in mind, I figured I’d track tender deadline decisions/rumors throughout the day as they’re made available.
- Jesse Rogers says he heard this weekend that Donnie Murphy was a 50/50 tender decision for the Cubs. Murphy, 30, was something of a revelation in part-time duty for the Cubs this year (.255/.319/.530 and 11 homers over 163 plate appearances), and could play all over the infield off of the bench for the Cubs next year. He’s never established himself as a clear MLB-caliber player, though his minor league numbers have always been fairly good for a guy who can play a little shortstop. In sum, he’s a decent bench piece, and isn’t going to make much in arbitration. He also might be relatively replaceable, and Rogers points out that he’s got a “lucrative offer” in Japan right now. The Cubs control Murphy’s rights, so he’s not able to negotiate with Japanese teams – if they want him, they’d have to wet the Cubs’ beak, like what happened with Bryan LaHair last year. Sometimes teams will let a guy, under control, go to Japan to score big if they feel like his contributions to their own team would be marginal. Maybe the Cubs will let Murphy go and get paid. I tend to think, because the currently-composed roster could still use him, they’ll tender him a contract, though. We’ll see.
- 2:13pm CT – Multiple reports coming out at the same time (Jesse Rogers, Patrick Mooney, and Rob Bradford (Boston) among them) that the Cubs will non-tender reliever Daniel Bard today. That’s been my expectation for a couple weeks now, and, as I’ve said, I think we’ll see the Cubs try to keep him around on a minor league deal. If Bard is non-tendered, the 40-man will drop to 39.
- 6:30pm CT – He wasn’t a non-tender candidate, but, in case you were worried, the Cubs have agreed to a 2014 deal with George Kottaras.
- 7:30pm CT – Man of the hour Chris Cotillo reports that the Cubs will non-tender Mat Gamel. That’s not a huge surprise, given the low dollars involved either way. The Cubs picked up Gamel on a flyer earlier this year, and will open up a 40-man spot by non-tendering him. From there, they could try to work out a minor league deal, but Gamel will probably have better options in the AL.
- 7:55pm CT – A lot of folks are asking me about Tommy Hanson, whom the Angels non-tendered today. Although he’s just 27, and you probably remember him from when he was a hotshot up-and-comer with the Braves, there are physical concerns. His velocity has evaporated, and reports have his stuff disappearing, too (K rate dropped to a career-low 17.1% last year). I don’t think he’s a guy you’d give a guaranteed contract. But, a minor league deal flyer? My general rule on anyone with upside or the legitimate chance to contribute off the bench or in the bullpen is “sure, why not?”
- 8:39pm CT – The Red Sox have non-tendered reliever Andrew Bailey, 29, who had labrum/capsule surgery mid-year in 2013. He was pitching mighty well before the injury happened, and he’d be an interesting target on the right kind of deal for the Cubs (assuming his recovery is going well). The Red Sox also let Ryan Kalish, 25, go. A lefty-hitting outfielder who never put it together at the big league level, Kalish will probably try to latch onto an organization where he can fight for a bench outfield job (while serving as AAA depth, probably). I don’t think it’ll be the Cubs.
- 10:32pm CT – Still waiting on the full, final slate, but Jesse Rogers just tweeted that the Cubs have agreed to a deal with Donnie Murphy, so he won’t be non-tendered.