On Monday, teams made their tender decisions on arbitration-eligible players. Thanks to 43 non-tenders, there are suddenly 43 new free agents on the market. Although none are top tier options – because obviously – several are interesting complementary pieces that will get a lot of attention. Among them …
- Andrew Bailey was a big-time reliever in Oakland who came to Boston shortly after Theo Epstein left for Chicago. In Boston, he struggled and was injured, but flashed good stuff when healthy in 2013. Still, he’s had shoulder surgery that will keep him out until mid-season 2014, and, unless he’s taking a low-dollar, one-year-plus-cheap-option type deal, I’m not sure he’s a good fit for the Cubs. Another team might be in a position to offer him more money because they can use him in the nearer term.
- In tandem with Bailey, the Red Sox non-tendered outfielder Ryan Kalish, about whom folks like to point out the obvious front office connection. Kalish plays all over the outfield, and does a little with the bat, but, on a Major League deal, I don’t see the spot for him on the Cubs (unless another move is coming, or the outfield rotation is going to be weak). Presently, the Cubs have Nate Schierholtz, Ryan Sweeney, Junior Lake and Brian Bogusevic in the outfield, and, unless they’re planning on going with a rotation of five non-starters (four of whom are lefties), how could they round it out with Kalish? The Cubs need to add a starter in the outfield. But, hey, maybe they still like the potential of Kalish, 25, as a long-term starter. I guess we’ll see.
- Wesley Wright is a quality left-handed reliever who was simply going to make a touch too much money in arbitration for the Rays’ tastes, so he was cut loose. But he’s a 28-year-old lefty who’s posted a 3.48 ERA and a 3.03 K/BB over the last two years. For his career, he falls more in the lefty specialist role, with lefties hitting just .231/.313/.342 off of him. If the Cubs are looking to add another lefty to the bullpen from the outside (or maybe want to have the flexibility to deal James Russell), they could do a lot worse than Wright for a million or two.
- Ronald Belisario is another interesting reliever. He’s put up a 3.24 ERA for the Dodgers over the last two years, though his K rate dropped quite a bit last year. He turns 31 next year, and could be one of the best minor league signings available out there (if that’s all he can get).
- The Mets let infielder Justin Turner go, and he’s going to be a very solid bench guy for some team next year. He can play anywhere in the infield, and managed a 100 OPS+ last year (an average bat that can play all over is a great asset to have on the bench).
- Daniel Hudson got a lot of attention when he was non-tendered, being a 27-year-old righty with great past success. The problem with Hudson (besides the second Tommy John surgery that will keep him out well into 2014)? The Diamondbacks plan to bring him back.
- And Sam Fuld! Sam Fuld!
- Those are just a handful of the non-tenders. You can see the rest of them and think about the possibilities here.