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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

MLB Trade Rumors: 2020 Non-Tender Candidates

As we do each year at MLBTR, we’re providing a list of players whose teams could potentially choose not to tender them a contract, thus sending them into the free agent pool earlier than expected. It should be emphasized that we’re not indicating that each of these players is likely to be non-tendered (though that’s certainly the case with some of them). Typically, we list any player for which we can envision at least a 10 percent chance of a non-tender, but this year I’ve included some long shots who are probably less likely than that.

It should also be noted that some of these non-tender candidates will be traded prior to the December 2nd deadline rather than simply cut loose. Some could also be claimed by another team on waivers.  Other borderline candidates may be presented with an offer that is notably lower than their projected salary and could accept the “take it or leave it” ultimatum rather than being non-tendered.  This is known as a pre-tender contract.  Multiyear extensions are another possibility.

Determining arbitration salaries will be especially difficult this offseason, which I’ve written about here.  That difficulty also applies to the arbitration salary projections Matt Swartz provides each year for MLBTR, which can be found here.  In this list, I’ve provided Matt’s “Method 3” arbitration projections.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 18, 2020 at 09:28 AM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: non-tenders

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   1. The Duke Posted: November 18, 2020 at 03:16 PM (#5989602)
It’s a pretty uninspired list of names. Pham is an interesting non-tender candidate. Bryant - I can’t see the Cubs doing that. A couple of the pitchers are interesting. Not much there frankly.
   2. Adam Starblind Posted: November 18, 2020 at 04:05 PM (#5989623)
What the heck happened to Kris Bryant?
   3. The Duke Posted: November 18, 2020 at 05:21 PM (#5989648)
Beanball. Takes a while for the fog to dissipate. Which means he could snap back if it is that. He’s also had a lot of other injuries lately
   4. Walt Davis Posted: November 18, 2020 at 08:43 PM (#5989735)
Beanball.

Such things are perfectly reasonable possibilities and it seems likely they have some effect but rarely does the data cooperate so cleanly.

Bryant was hit on Apr 22, 2018 and sat out the next 4 games. That seems like rushing him back and you'd think that the effects would be most obvious in its immediate aftermath. But over the next month, he hit 287/380/585 with a K-rate under 20% and on a 35-HR pace while starting 23 of 24 games -- i.e. Kris Bryant.

Over the next month he was not good -- 248/319/347. It's possible the beanball had some effects that took a while to manifest -- possibly not "fog", maybe being more tentative on inside pitches (I sure would be) and maybe it took the league a while to find these new holes.

He hit the DL for 16 games. He came back for 10 days and did OK, not great then hit the DL again for 35 games. That was followed by more OK performance (259/354/412) and a 33% K-rate but 385 BABIP. Certainly for the entire post-beanball period of 2018, it's not great: 263/351/444, >25% K-rate but a 338 BABIP so it's really the drop in power.

2019 got off to a rough start (230/355/420 in April) but then he got red hot -- May through July of 312/409/582, K-rate between 20-25% and HR rate of about 35 for a year. He was then back to pretty solid again at 261/351/478, K-rate too high but still solid HR rate. For the year he ended up at 282/352/521 which is just fine although a bit "down" because 2019 was such a crazy HR year for everybody else.

2020 was just a disaster -- he stunk at the start, missed 13 games, stunk on return. His worst "sustained" performance came over 2 years after the beaning.

In WAR terms, 2019 and 2015 are pretty close -- it's a drop of 1.6 WAR but it's all a run here, a couple runs there type of thing -- 2 fewer in Rbat, 1 fewer in Rbase, 3 fewer in Rdp, 4 fewer in Rfield, 2 fewer in Rpos. I don't know if that's more or less likely to be long-term effects from a concussion but it doesn't represent a collapse, more a diminishing.

I don't know concussion research, maybe there's evidence that these sorts of effects don't show up for a month or two. But "in a fog" since the beanball is hard to reconcile with his outstanding month upon immediate return and his outstanding mid-2019 performance. There have been some terrible stretches but, until this year, no sustained multi-month performance we could call "bad" just "not the good ol' KB."
   5. Walt Davis Posted: November 18, 2020 at 09:51 PM (#5989770)
On the linked topic, agree with #1. Many of these I scratch my head and wonder "why would you non-tender him" -- not as in the "why would you non-tender somebody as good as Kris Bryant" but as in why would the Rox non-tender C Elias Diaz? Sure, he's not a good player but he's managed to make it over 4 years service time, everybody needs a backup C and he's projected to earn just $850 K. Granted, looks like the Pirates non-tendered him last year, a move I'm not sure I understand either. Apparently it's the thing to do -- the Pirates replaced Diaz with a minor-league contract for JR Murphy who looks like he was non-tendered by AZ, I can't find what Murphy made in the majors last year.

I understand the decision around "is this guy really worth $4.7 M?" ... but around "is this backup C I have some familiarity with actually worth $270 K more than some AAA guy?" I start to get lost. I know, $270 K here, $270 K there and $270 K in 8 other places and pretty soon you're talking a bad reliever contract.
   6. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: November 18, 2020 at 10:37 PM (#5989808)
If they care enough about money to charge me $8 for a ####### Miller Lite then I sure as hell want them to squeeze $270k out of their backup catcher. It's the principle of the thing.
   7. BDC Posted: November 19, 2020 at 09:44 AM (#5989888)
Geez, the Rangers aren't even good enough to have more than one player worth non-tendering :)

That one guy is Danny Santana, who had a super-sub year in 2019 but missed almost all of what there was of 2020 with elbow surgery. It would be a shame if his career stalls out at this point, but he did have that one good year.
   8. Walt Davis Posted: November 19, 2020 at 11:00 PM (#5990073)
If they care enough about money to charge me $8 for a ####### Miller Lite then I sure as hell want them to squeeze $270k out of their backup catcher.

That's not even enough for 1 free Miller Lite for everybody in a weekend crowd. You'd begrudge Elias Diaz's kids a proper university education for 1.5% of a Miller Lite? Slightly more seriously (and the reason I looked up Murphy, etc.), I wonder how often a team non-tenders their $850 K backup C only to sign an $850 K backup C -- so it's not clear your Miller Lite prices are being affected.
   9. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: November 20, 2020 at 09:34 AM (#5990086)
That's not even enough for 1 free Miller Lite for everybody in a weekend crowd. You'd begrudge Elias Diaz's kids a proper university education for 1.5% of a Miller Lite? Slightly more seriously (and the reason I looked up Murphy, etc.), I wonder how often a team non-tenders their $850 K backup C only to sign an $850 K backup C -- so it's not clear your Miller Lite prices are being affected.

In a non-competitive industry, price has nothing to do with cost.

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