Many very good players were recently non-tendered. That means that their former team decided against offering a contract to a player that is arbitration eligible. These non-tendered players will now become free agents. MLB.com has the entire list of non-tendered players. There will be a few more useful players entering the free agent market.
- Takashi Saito. He is by far the most interesting name cut loose. After dominating the entire league the last 3 seasons, he had a platelet-rich plasma injected into his elbow last year. He’s a big question mark, but I still think the Dodgers should have tendered him a contract. I mean, the guy has a career ERA under 2.00. That’s about as dominant as it gets. He might be able to get a closer’s job somewhere, but it’s possible that he doesn’t because of the great market for closers. This guy is a huge upside play, and I think that all 30 teams should consider him.
- Ty Wiggington. I’m very surprised that the Astros decided to cut him loose. He was a very solid third baseman for their team, and also has the versatility to play second base, first base, or the outfield corners. If the ‘Stros knew that they wouldn’t be able to afford him, then why didn’t they just trade him? There had to be a solid market for Ty; he’s probably a better player than Casey Blake while coming on a 1 year deal. I just can’t believe that no team was willing to take him on. Now that he’s reached free agency, there is probably going to be a large market for him. The Twins look like the perfect fit if you ask me. I’m predicting that Wiggington gets 2 years, 14 million from Minnesota.
- Joe Nelson. He had an ERA of 2.00, yet still got non-tendered. Money must be really tight in Florida. What I don’t understand is why they didn’t trade him. He is a useful reliever with a high strike-out rate. I can’t believe that no team was willing to take him on. Nelson should be able to nab a 2 year deal somewhere. He joins an already impressive corps of free agent relievers.
- Daniel Cabrera. I agree with Andy MacPhail on this one. They already know what Cabrera is, and he’s not worth the 4 million he would have received in arbitration. I guess that there were no teams interested in trading for him, but it might have just been because everyone knew he would be cut loose. He still has a lot of upside, and would make some sense for teams like the Nationals or Pirates.
- Tim Redding. I thought he would have brought something good back in a trade. He looks like a solid #4 or #5 starter, and I don’t understand how he is much worse than any of their other starting pitching options. Look for the Rockies to be a major player for him; they almost traded Willy Taveras for him before the two were non-tendered.
- Willy Taveres. I guess that it’s smart to non-tender Taveras. He’s not a starter on their team, so it makes no sense to pay him around 3 million to be a fourth outfielder. I thought he would be traded, but I guess there were no interested parties. He could be an interesting option for teams looking for speed like the White Sox or Reds. By the way, I hate the Nationals as a suitor now that they’ve aquired Josh Willingham.
- Joey Gathright. He is pretty much just like Taveras; lots of speed, low average, low OBP. Like Taveras, teams like the White Sox and Reds could make inquiries.
- Jonny Gomes. I agree with the decision to non-tender him; the Rays had better options. He still has a lot of pop, and destroys lefties. This guy could make a lot of sense for a non-contending team looking for some power. The Pirates come to mind, as he would make a solid fourth outfielder for their team.
- Chris Capuano. He was a very good pitcher in 2005 and 2006. 2007 might have been a fluke, but he was flat-out bad during that season. He missed all of last year, but could be resigned by the Brewers. The two sides seem to have mutual interest. Capuano still has a lot of upside.
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The Milwaukee Brewers are probably not going to be as good in 2009 as they were in 2008. Their top two starters: CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets are both free agents. They have a few holes. They need one arm in the rotation, and one or two in the bullpen, as well as a center fielder. They have a good trade chip in JJ Hardy and could possibly entertain trading Prince Fielder. They need to open up spots for top prospects Alcidies Escobar and Mat Gamel. Hardy is more likely to be dealt because his bat would be easier to replace than Fielder’s. Plus, a lot of other good first baseman could be on the market with Mike Jacobs and Ryan Howard in trades and Mark Teixera and Jason Giambi on the free agent market. There should be a huge market for Hardy, with only two above average shortstops avalable via free agency. I have previously said that JJ Hardy for Nick Blackburn would make sense, and I still believe that. Another possibility is Hardy to the Oriols for George Sherrill and Daniel Cabrera. Or to the Blue Jays for maybe Shaun Marcum or Dustin McGowen. The Brewers could always add a piece to make it work. To the Royals for David DeJesus or Ran Mahay and a piece. To the A’s for one of their several pitching prospects. Or maybe for Huston Street instead. To the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez. Or the Dodgers for Scott Elbert or Justin McGownen and a bullpen piece. There are many options. They should pick up the option on Mike Cameron. 10 million is a lot for him, but they have a lot of money to burn and could afford him. I think they’ll spend a lot of money on their bullpen as well. Although, they did that last year and it didn’t work. They could look into resigning Sheets, but Sabathia has no chance of coming back. If they resign Sheets they could be just as good as they were last year, with Yovani Gallardo coming back from injury. The Brewers can still be a very good team in ’09, probably just not as good as they were in ’08.