Friday was a fairly significant offseason deadline. It was the deadline for teams to tender contract offers to their pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players. They didn’t have to sign those players, just offer them a contract. Players who did not receive a contract offer became free agents. It’s otherwise known as the non-tender deadline.
A total of 35 players were non-tendered and became free agents Friday, most notably
. Carter led the National League with 41 home runs in 2016, but the
didn’t want to pay him upwards of $10 million through arbitration. After they were unable to find a trade partner, Milwaukee decided to let Carter go as a non-tender.
Ross has been one of the better pitchers in baseball the last few seasons, though he made only one start in 2016 before going down with a shoulder injury (and later an ankle injury). He recently underwent surgery to correct thoracic outlet syndrome and is expected to be out until the middle of the 2017. Things did not go well for San Diego’s ace this summer. Not at all.
San Diego Padres
couldn’t justify playing Ross a projected arbitration salary north of $10 million next season with his health so up in the air. Thoracic outlet surgery is a pretty big deal and the rehab could take longer than expected. A year ago San Diego could have traded Ross for a huge prospect package. Now they had to non-tender him. Ouch.
Beyond Carter and Ross, here are five of the most interesting players who were non-tendered Friday. All five are established big-leaguers who are now free agents.
I was a bit surprised the
decided to non-tender
. The 29-year-old hit .264/.322/.423 (93 OPS+) with 14 home runs in 2016, plus he threw out a well-above-average 38 percent of basestealers. Castillo rates poorly as a pitch-framer, however, and that is a skill teams are valuing more and more.
Still, are there really 30 catchers in baseball better than Castillo? Yeah, maybe, but it’s up for debate. Castillo was projected to receive approximately $6 million through arbitration in 2017. Any team in needed of a righty catcher with some pop will surely come calling now. Castillo shouldn’t have any trouble finding a new team this offseason.
Three years ago
was an All-Star. This year he had a 5.44 ERA (77 ERA+) in 127 1/3 innings spread across 19 starts and 11 relief appearances. The 29-year-old has had one above-average season in his career — that All-Star season in 2013 — but a four-pitch lefties are always in demand.
This free agent pitching market is incredibly thin, so much so that Locke could very well land a starting gig as a free agent despite his poor 2016 season. The
non-tendered Locke rather than pay him north of $4 million through arbitration next year.
, a stalwart middle reliever with the
St. Louis Cardinals
the last few seasons, is damaged goods. He had surgery to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow in August, but it was not Tommy John surgery. As MLB.com’s Evan Webeck explains, Maness’ UCL was not torn and did not need to be replaced. Doctors only had to anchor the ligament back to the bone.
The procedure comes with a much shorter rehab than Tommy John surgery — the 28-year-old Maness is expected to be ready at some point in spring training. He pitched to a 3.41 ERA (121 ERA+) in 31 2/3 innings with St. Louis before the injury, which is a tick worse than his career norms. If healthy — and that’s a big if — Maness could be a nice little low-cost pickup. He was projected to earn $1.6 million in 2017.
The 2016 season was miserable for
, who hit a weak .217/.260/.300 (49 OPS+) with 14 steals in 375 plate appearances before losing his center field and leadoff jobs to
, who are said to be targeting
, non-tendered Revere rather than pay him for $6 million through arbitration in 2017.
Revere has a very poor 2016 season. No doubt about it. This is also a player who hit .306 with a .334 on-base percentage from 2013-15 and averaged 34 steals per season. Revere’s not going to hit for power. That’s not his game at all. He’s a contact guy who runs like hell, and while he fits best in left field defensively, he’s still passable in center. You could do worse for a cheap spare outfielder.
At this point
, who was traded for Revere four years ago, is well-traveled. He’s pitched for four teams in the last five years and will likely make it five teams in six years after being non-tendered by the
. They cut Worley loose rather than pay him more than $3 million through arbitration next year.
Worley, 29, pitched well in a swingman role this summer, giving the O’s 86 2/3 innings of 3.53 ERA (126 OPS+) ball. His 4.82 FIP suggests maybe a little good fortune contributed to that 3.53 ERA. Either way, Worley is a versatile pitcher who can start or relieve, and in this thin pitching market, he figures to find a job that puts him as high as fifth or sixth on a team’s rotation depth chart.
Rubby De La Rosa
Chicago White Sox