MLB free agency: Cody Bellinger and more non-tender candidates who could find themselves on the market

MLB free agency: Cody Bellinger and more non-tender candidates who could find themselves on the market

Friday is Major League Baseball’s deadline to award contracts to unsigned players, a couple of weeks earlier than usual. For those unfamiliar with the concept, teams must choose whether or not to extend contract offers to all players who are not already signed to guaranteed deals. This includes most players with big-league service time of less than six years (though there are exceptions, such as players who agreed to long-term extensions earlier in their careers).

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Players who do not receive a contract offer are described as “non-tendered”, which means they become free agents. Unlike a traditional free agent who has a required amount of service time, these players rarely receive multi-year deals. Many of them find new homes on one-year arrangements, with their salaries either in line with or falling below their anticipated arbitration awards.

We here at CBS Sports are nothing if not the speculative type, so below we’ve highlighted 10 potential players who could find themselves hitting the open market — or, at the very least, being traded to another franchise. – later this November. (Note that the players are presented alphabetically, And you can find a full list of arbitration salary projections for MLB trade rumors by clicking here,

There was a point earlier in Anderson’s career, when he tallied three consecutive-win seasons in 2018-19, where it looked like he could become a franchise cornerstone. This has not happened. Instead, he’s taken a step back the past two seasons, posting a 90 OPS+ and averaging just 1.6 combined wins above replacement. Now, Anderson is a 29-year-old whose projected arbitration award (north of $5 million) will make him one of the highest-paid players on the Marlins roster. Another franchisee, endowed with a greater financial commitment than the owner, may undercut that price point. Probably not Fish, who used Anderson less than out of respect for younger, cheaper interior options.

The Dodgers played a will-they, will-way game with Bellinger last off-season, ultimately opting to bring him back for another year. The good news is that he improved his game compared to his 2021 effort; The bad news is that his production remained well below his previously established numbers. Bellinger is only 27 years old, and is not even three full winters away from winning the Most Valuable Player Award. Still, there aren’t many teams that can stomach sinking $18 million into a player who performs well enough to post an on-base percentage in the .280s. The Dodgers are one of those teams, but we think they may recognize that now is the time to move on.

The first major decision the new Tigers front office will have to make is deciding Candelario’s fate. (Hey, big is a relative term.) His career so far has had its ups and downs, with last season falling safely into the “down” bin. It’s worth noting that Candelario could qualify for free agency with another year of big-league service time, which means the Tigers could be looking at this in a straight way: could they sign a $7 million one-year deal? sign on if they can, or would they prefer to use that money elsewhere. The third base market is barren, so any option is defensive.

if we was To estimate, we’ll write that Hiura will make the cut. He is projected to make $2 million next year after hitting 115 OPS+ in 80 games last season. It seems like a trifle to pay for an above average hitter, but we’re not sure he’ll stick around. Hiura struck out in more than 40 percent of his plate appearances in 2022, and he continued to provide negative value defensively. The Brewers have 18 arbitration-eligible players on their roster, suggesting they have some tough decisions to make. The 26-year-old would be eligible to move on from a former top-10 pick.

By sticking with the Brewers, Houser is projected to earn approximately $4 million in 2023. He has started 58 times during the pandemic era, posting a 101 ERA+ and a 1.65 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He doesn’t miss at bats (his 83 percent contact rate last year was fourth-worst among 186 pitchers with more than 10 starts) and he’s always had a significant platoon split. You might not have a lot of pitching depth, but we think the Brewers would be wise to cut bait with Houser and give someone else a chance.

These decisions are not always about dollars and cents. Sometimes, they are about roster space and team colors. Hudson is set to make a paltry $2.7 million next season, but his disappointing 2022 season could see him wasted. After all, the Cardinals can still field a starting rotation of veterans without dipping into a pool of young arms that includes Matthew Liberatore, gordon gracefoeither Michael McGreevy, Where does that leave Hudson? Maybe on another roster. (The of rocksFor one, has expressed previous interest in acquiring your services.)

The Royals have shown considerable patience with Keller, who they originally acquired as part of the 2017–18 Rule 5 draft. Alas, he hasn’t rewarded their faith over the last two seasons. In 61 combined appearances (48 starts), he compiled an 82 ERA+ and a 1.83 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Royals are one good starting rotation away from being a contender (or close to it), suggesting the new chief of execs JJ Piccolo may be able to find better uses for both Keller’s projected $7 million salary and 20-plus starts. should be able.

8. Emilio Pagan, RHP, Twins

Pagan is one of the most disappointing pitchers in the majors. Since a career-best performance in 2019, he has appeared in 148 games over the past three seasons while posting an 85 ERA+, a dismal mark for a high-leverage reliever. (for reference, hansal robles is the only reliever with 10 or more saves and a worse ERA+ in the pandemic era.) Pagan’s stuff is enough to rack up more than one strikeout per frame, yet it has forced him to surrender close to two home runs every nine. did not stop from innings of the last three years. Maybe the Twins keep him with the thought that he is due for another good season. You can forgive them if they decide otherwise.

(Note: Since the original publication of this article, Reyes has elected outright and free agency.) Cubs took a chance on Reyes after being waived by Guardians in August. It was a wise gamble. Because they didn’t fight as much as they did in 2022 He A long way from a 30-homer season in 2021. Reyes actually played better with the Cubs, raising his seasonal OPS+ from 73 to 81, just not good enough to keep him at an estimated cost of $6 million. Reyes is only 27 years old, but if he doesn’t start hitting again, he’s going to find himself in the minors on a permanent basis soon.

We’ll end the list with Smith, who is expected to earn around $4 million next season. He’s always been available in trades over the years, but his stalled game hasn’t hurt anyone. He has failed to build on the momentum he established in 2019-20, and has instead posted 78 OPS+ in his last 645 trips to the plate. That’s not, as the kids say, what you want from a player who provides negative secondary values.

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