If you thought there were a lot of players non-tendered by MLB teams earlier this week… you’re right:
There were 40 players eligible for arbitration who were non-tendered today. Last year, that number was 27. The year before, 19.
Teams are clearly being aggressive with tenders, recognizing that if there is better value on the open market, using the arb system is not necessary.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 3, 2019
This isn’t the way the arb system is supposed to work. But front offices are taking advantage of an apparent loophole — putting together a list of what we might call “mid-range” arb-eligible players, non-tendering them, then re-signing them to lesser money than they might have gotten in arb. The Red Sox, for example, have already done this:
Sox announce re-signings of the two players they non-tendered, Marco Hernandez and Josh Osich. The decision to non-tender allowed greater flexibility in contract structure (I.e., split major/minor league deals) for players expected to offer depth.
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) December 4, 2019
Osich, for example, was a somewhat useful reliever in 2019, 0.5 bWAR for the White Sox (Boston claimed him…