MLB

10 MLB non-tender decisions to watch for on Monday

The deadline for MLB teams to offer a contract to their non-tender eligible candidates is on Monday. Here are ten decisions we’re keeping an eye on.

Monday, Dec. 2 is the deadline for MLB teams to inform their arbitration-eligible players whether they will issue them a contract for the 2020 season. Those players who do not receive a contract will be “non-tendered” and become free agents. Teams usually non-tender players if they don’t believe that what they will make in arbitration is worth what they are expected to produce the next year.

MLBTradeRumors.com has issued their list of players that they believe have a chance to be non-tendered before Monday’s deadline. Here, we look at ten cases that are worth watching as we approach the deadline. As we look at each case, we factor in each player’s projected salary for 2020 through the arbitration process. Players that are not tendered a contract can sign anywhere for any amount.

Philadelphia Phillies: Maikel Franco and Cesar Hernandez

There’s a lot of speculation that the Phillies are running out of patience with Maikel Franco. Both his home run and RBI totals have gone down each of the past three seasons; the 26-year-old failed to reach 20 home runs for the first time in four years in 2019. He also plays well below average defense at third base. With the Phillies looking to take a big step forward after a couple of disappointing years, they may decide to part with Franco and his projected $6.7 million salary.

As for Cesar Hernandez, the 29-year-old second baseman may be one of the most attractive candidates to be non-tendered as he’s coming off a 2.5 WAR season. However, he’s projected to make $11.8 million in arbitration. Given the crowded second baseman market, the Phillies may decide to not offer Hernandez a contract and hope they can bring him back for cheaper.

Minnesota Twins: C.J. Cron

C.J. Cron had another nice season in 2019, this time with Minnesota, reaching 25 home runs after hitting 30 in 2018 while setting a career high with 78 RBIs. With a projected $7.7 million salary for 2020, the soon-to-be 30-year-old Cron wouldn’t be a horrible deal, but first base/DH types who hit 25 home runs seem to grow on trees these days. The Twins may decide they need that money elsewhere and let Cron go.

Chicago Cubs: Addison Russell

Many think that the Cubs have already held onto Addison Russell too long; his off-the-field antics have alienated a lot of fans. Russell will only be 26 next year, so there’s still time to turn it around, but after finishing 19th in NL MVP voting in 2016 he’s come nowhere near that production since. The suddenly cash-strapped Cubs would save an estimated $5.1 million by letting Russell go.

San Francisco Giants: Kevin Pillar

Kevin Pillar placed 22nd in NL MVP voting in 2019, hitting 21 home runs and driving in 87. In an offseason where center field options are few and far between, the soon-to-be 31-year-old Pillar would be an intriguing player if the Giants decide not to pay his projected $9.7 million salary for 2020. However, some teams will have a hard time getting past his career .296 OBP and the fact that his defense has regressed in recent years.

Milwaukee Brewers: Travis Shaw

What the heck happened to Travis Shaw in 2019? After back-to-back seasons of over 30 home runs, the 29-year-old batted just .157 with seven home runs. With the Brewers figuring to be active this offseason (they’ve already made one trade), a lot of people will be watching them try to determine whether Shaw’s 2019 season was an outlier or a sign of things to come. He’s projected to make $4.7 million in 2019.

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