With the tender and non-tender decisions rolling out tonight across baseball, I wanted to gather the notable ones up here. The deadline to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players is 7pm CT.
I’m just gonna keep adding them as I see them, if they’re important, interesting, implicate the Cubs by way of extension, or whatever. The free agent pool is changing as we speak …
⇒ The White Sox today non-tendered two “name” players in outfielder Nomar Mazara and lefty Carlos Rodon. Mazara hits the ball as hard and far as anyone, but he has yet to really reach the level of play suggested by his years of hype. Rodon, a former number three overall pick taken just before Kyle Schwarber, was considered a can’t-miss college starter who missed, mostly because of serious injury issues. A team will take a flyer because of the talent, but I really don’t know what he’s got in his future. As for Mazara, he’s still only 25 if you can believe it, and despite the terrible 2020, some team will take a chance on the raw ability to hit the crap out of the ball.
⇒ The Padres will tender outfielder Tommy Pham (Lin), despite his many recent surgeries, and an expected $8-ish million price tag. I don’t think they know what to expect from him next year, but if he’s “normal,” then he’s still very much worth that level of contract, even in this market.
⇒ We learned earlier today that the Cubs will be non-tendering Jose Martinez, and the discussion for that decision is here. There are Kyle Schwarber rumors out there, and yes I’ve seen them, but I’m still waiting for something a little more firm before I jump on it.
⇒ Orlando Arcia was a clear non-tender candidate for the Brewers after some disappointing years (you know, when he WASN’T playing the Cubs), so they got him to agree to a pre-tender deal at $2 million (Murray). Arcia, who is still only 26, actually approached league average at the plate in the shortened 2020 season, and maybe he’ll finally turn a corner. But the previous two years combined, he hit just .228/.277/.333 (58 wRC+). A whole bunch of other small pre-tender deals here at MLBTR.
⇒ The Yankees plan to tender catcher Gary Sanchez, per Jon Heyman, despite his dreadful turn at the plate. My guess is they tried to trade him, found no market before the tender deadline, and have decided to “risk” him sticking around in order to get the chance to keep shopping him the rest of the offseason.
⇒ The Reds are non-tendering outfielder Brian Goodwin, whom they acquired from the Angels at mid-season. Now 30, Goodwin has been a league-average bat for his career so far (alternating slightly above average years with slightly below average years), and is passable all over the outfield. He’s a split-neutral lefty, too, so he’s gonna be attractive to some teams on a small deal as a reserve outfielder. That strikeout rate is awfully close to 30%, so I’m not sure the Cubs would be the team to jump if they’re looking to reshape that part of their game.
⇒ Tyler Naquin is one of those names I feel like I’ve heard for so long as a great young outfielder who was gonna be awesome for the Indians, but today he’s been non-tendered (Hoynes). Well, here’s why I had that in my head: in 2016, as a rookie, Naquin was awesome (and I may have had extra reason to pay attention to the Indians that year). Since then, though, he’s been just bad. He’ll play next season at 30, and although he’s been a league average bat against righties for his career, I don’t think he looks like a guy who’ll get a big league deal. Could be a whole lot of late-signing, Spring Training invite types in the outfield free agent pool.
⇒ Despite their many, many catchers on the roster (I’m not exaggerating, they have SIX on the 40-man right now), the Brewers aren’t non-tendering Omar Narvaez, and instead got him to sign a pre-tender at $2.5 million (Heyman). That’s solidly below his projected range ($2.73-$3.1 million), which is probably a great deal for the Brewers. Yes, his bat – which was his calling card – fell off a cliff this year, but that is an awfully small sample. Meanwhile, his framing took off like a rocket (and that stabilizes in a much smaller sample). I kinda don’t like that they kept him, as he might be a sneaky really good player for them next year.
⇒ Adam Duvall is now a really interesting free agent, as the Braves have non-tendered him (Passan). A really late breakout guy – he’s now 32 – Duvall raked for the Braves in limited action the last two years. He basically became the most extreme fly ball hitter in the world, and that translated to a shitload of strikeouts but also a shitload of power. He’s always hit lefties well, and we’ve talked about how the Cubs could use a guy like that in their outfield mix (hence the failed trade for Jose Martinez). But, again, I don’t know that the Cubs are going to be looking for a 28+% strikeout rate guy. I guess it’s more like 25% against lefties, but still. Duvall’s arb projection at MLBTR ranged from $4.4 million to $7.1 million, one of the wider ranges.
⇒ Royals third baseman Maikel Franco, a former big-time prospect with the Royals, will be non-tendered, per Mark Feinsand. Franco, 28, was a less-heralded part of the service time grievance situation that Kris Bryant faced, and kinda fell off the radar (in terms of that story) because his performance never took off. Now that extra year of team control is gone, and he’s a free agent. Franco plays solid defense at third and might give you a league-average bat if he doesn’t take a step forward. He doesn’t strike out, but also doesn’t take walks or hit for a lot of power, so he’s really dependent on BABIP for production (and he’s got a really low BABIP because he doesn’t make great contact). Kinda seems like he could afford to trade some of that contact for better contact, even if it meant some more whiffs. He’ll get signed somewhere.
⇒ (Michael): The Angels have acquired shortstop Jose Iglesias from the Orioles, per Ken Rosenthal, which is an interesting move. Iglesias has always been a high quality defensive shortstop, but had his first above-average offensive season since 2013 (102 wRC+) this year … and he was WAY above average in 39 games (150 PAs): .373/.400/.466; 160 wRC+. I sincerely doubt the Angels are expecting anything of the sort over the course of a full season, but his high quality glove could go a long way in terms of replacing outgoing free agent shortstop Andrelton Simmons (also known primarily for his excellent glove). This wasn’t exactly a non-tender decision, as Iglesias will play out the second year of his one-year $3M deal (plus a 2021 option for $3.5M) with the Angels, but it felt worth lumping in here. Let me also mention that this takes a shortstop needy team *potentially* out of the market for a shortstop when there are many shortstops available both this offseason on the free agent/trade market and next.
⇒ The Mets won’t be letting Steven Matz go just yet, reportedly signing him to a $5.2 million pre-tender (USA Today). The 29-year-old lefty flashed awesomeness in his younger days about four years ago, but hasn’t been healthy or effective much since. If you can afford the potential – as the Mets can – might as well keep him, eh?
⇒ The Brewers are keeping Dan Vogelbach at $1.4 million. Somehow Kyle Schwarber is now a free agent, but Dan Vogelbach is not.
⇒ We’ll get into this more when word is officially out, but I like it:
Righty Colin Rea will be avoiding arbitration on a one-year deal with the Cubs, per a source. Chicago needs rotation depth with three MLB starting pitchers from '20 in the FA pool.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) December 3, 2020
Though, like Bryan has said, it feels like Rea and the Cubs would be best served by just converting him to a reliever all the way.
⇒ Wow, a big pre-tender deal for an old friend. You almost NEVER see ones like this:
The Royals and OF Jorge Soler have agreed to a one-year, deal worth $8.05 million plus $250,000 in incentives, per source.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 3, 2020
⇒ Oh my. It’s not just Goodwin – the Reds are non-tendering everybody:
#Reds announce they did not tender a contracts to OF Brian Goodwin, C Curt Casali, RHP Archie Bradley, IF Kyle Farmer, RHP R.J. Alaniz.
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) December 3, 2020
⇒ Corey Knebel just hasn’t reclaimed his earlier dominance, and he got non-tendered by the Brewers. Wait. As I update, now there’s this:
Brewers traded Corey Knebel to the Dodgers for player to be named or cash, Brewers announced.
— Will Sammon (@WillSammon) December 3, 2020
So the Dodgers *do* want to tender him? That’s surprising, given his trajectory and his expected $5+ million price tag.