Okay, bad pun, but I’m not ashamed; I love bad puns.
Yesterday was the deadline to offer contracts to arbitration eligible players. Those players who did not receive an offer have become the latest entries into the free agent market. Some are relatively prominent; let’s look at a few, shall we? After all, what else do we have to do besides coming up with new ways the prepare leftover Thanksgiving turkey or watch reruns of Christmas movies?
The Chicago Cubs made a lot of people happy non-tendering Addison Russell. Don’t give them credit for taking a stand against their athletes beating women, though. That is not what happened—if they were inclined to do so, he’d have been waived last year. No, Theo Epstein candidly said the reason: Russell would have likely been awarded more money in arbitration than the Cubs feel he’s worth (best guess $4-5M). Someone will sign him. He still has two arbitration years left, and he’s above average defensively as a shortstop. However, with a .699 OPS, he’s not exactly an asset with the bat.
Remember 2018 when Blake Treinen, now formerly of the A’s, was the hottest reliever around? He certainly hopes teams remember a 0.78 ERA and 38 saves, and gamble that 2019’s 4.91 ERA was the aberration and not 2018.
X-Ray CJ Cron is a free agent again, this time being let go by the Twins. Why does a guy with 55 homers over the past two years get shown the door two years in a row, first by the Rays last year? Poor plate discipline resulting in a .311 OBP doesn’t help. Neither does being a less-than-stellar defender at first base. Still, he’ll find a job as a cheap DH/1B.
The Giants didn’t feel Kevin Pillar getting a 10th place MVP vote was enough to keep him around. Why cut a decent glove in centerfield? Maybe because he only drew 18 walks, resulting in a .293 OBP—“good” for an 89 OPS+.
Cesar Hernández has 10.1 bWAR over the past 4 years. The Phils May be gambling on picking up one of the bigger name 3B free agents available, besides not wanting to pay Hernández what he’d get in arbitration.
Taijuan Walker was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks. He still has lots of potential, but injuries have derailed his career thus far. Likewise, Steven Souza (also formerly of the Diamondbacks) and Aaron Sanchez, now an ex-Astro, have had difficulty keeping off the IL. Someone will give each of them a shot, but won’t pay much to do it.