The next big day on the 2015-16 Baseball off-season calendar is the “Non-Tender deadline.” Midnight on 12/2/15 is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players and/or unsigned players. If not tendered, those players immediately become free agents. (Craig Calcaterra has a funny little intro post on the same).
The team has a whole slew of “unsigned players” but we’ll leave them out of this discussion for the time being, since the non-tender deadline is mostly about discussing what arbitration-eligible players will either guarantee themselves a contract for 2016 or be cut loose.
(this is the 4th year running we’ve done this post: 2014 version (no real non-tender candidates and none non-tendered), 2013 version (Detwiler, Ohlendorf in play), 2012 version (Lannan, Gorzelanny, Flores in play), 2011 version (Slaten and Gorzelanny in play).
The below table lists our 8 arbitration-eligible players for 2016, their current contract, what they got paid in 2015 and then two projections (mine and mlbtraderumors.com) for their 2016 salary.
|Player||Current or 2015 Contract||2014||2015||My 2016 Guess||MLBtraderumors 2016 guess|
|Strasburg, Stephen||1yr/7.4M (15) (arb3)||$3,975,000||$7,400,000||$12,000,000||$10,500,000|
|Storen, Drew||1yr/$5.7M (15) (arb4)||$3,450,000||$5,700,000||$7,600,000||$8,800,000|
|Ramos, Wilson||1yr/$3.55M (15) (arb3)||$2,095,000||$3,550,000||$4,700,000||$5,300,000|
|Rendon, Anthony||1yr/$1.8M opt (15) (arb1)||$1,800,000||$1,800,000||$4,000,000||$2,500,000|
|Stammen, Craig||1yr/$2.25M (15) (arb4)||$1,375,000||$2,250,000||$2,400,000||$2,400,000|
|Espinosa, Danny||1yr/$1.8M (15) (arb2)||$540,000||$1,800,000||$3,200,000||$2,700,000|
|Lobaton, Jose||1yr/$1.2M (15) (arb3)||$950,000||$1,200,000||$1,500,000||$1,500,000|
|Moore, Tyler||1 yr/$0.5182M (15) (arb1)||$507,900||$518,200||$1,200,000||$1,000,000|
Lets go one-by-one, giving scant analysis to the more obvious tender candidates.
- Strasburg, Stephen: obviously he gets tendered; bigger question is what his 2016 salary ends up being. My guess is a bit higher than mlbtraderumors because i’m going more off of his presumed FA value versus a projection of his 2015 pay vs performance. Might be an ugly arbitration battle if the two sides come in very far apart.
- Storen, Drew: obvious tender since he’s getting shopped heavily. Here mlbtraderumors thinks he’s worth quite a bit more than I projected. Maybe i’m undervaluing saves. But the Nats would certainly like to rid themselves of this arbitration case headache.
- Rendon, Anthony: obvious tender and hoping for a return to 2014 levels. What do you pay him? I said $4M … and that might be pretty high considering his 2015 performance. Could also be an ugly fight in the arbitration hearing.
- Espinosa, Danny: made himself a bit of money in 2015 by improving his average a bit; still has L/R split issues but he will continue to have a job as a utility infielder for years to come thanks to his plus-plus defense.
- Stammen, Craig: unless his recovery has been fouled up, he’s a tender candidate and frankly should probably look to sign another cost-controlled 2-year deal with the team instead of fighting it out in a hearing.
- Ramos, Wilson: may have struggled at the plate but he’s the only starting catcher we have.
Now for the real Non-tender candidates.
- Lobaton, Jose: Is Lobaton worth $1.5M (both my estimate and mlbtraderumors) given how poorly he hit in 2015? Yes he is; unless you can tell me that either Pedro Severino or Spencer Kieboom is ready to be an every 5 days MLB catcher (or potentially more given how historically brittle Ramos has been) then Lobaton has to be tendered. If the team signs a catcher in the next two days, maybe you can cut him loose. But you generally keep ahold of MLB-competent (if not quality) catchers, not get rid of them. So I’ll guess we tender him. No options available, so he’s either all-or-nothing on the MLB roster for 2016.
- Moore, Tyler: to me the only real non-tender candidate we have. No options available, had his worst season yet at the plate (.200/.250/.364) and is positionally limited to 1B and LF (two slots filled by guys on $100M contracts). He posted a -1.5 bWAR in 2015 and now has a -2.1 bWAR for his career. I just don’t see how he’s tendered a contract frankly; wouldn’t the team do better to have a cattle-call of MLFA NRIs next spring to find a more useful RH-off-the-bench bat, which is essentially what Moore has become? I think so; in fact some of the recent signing activity (Reed Johnson, Scott Sizemore, Chris Heisey) seems to indicate exactly this; the team thinks it can find a player who has a better MLB track record and who is more positionally flexible than Moore. My prediction: non-tender.
Thoughts? Would you do something different?
PS: after publishing, mlbtraderumors.com published their comprehensive list of non-tender candidates for the year. They list Lobaton, Moore and Stammen as their non-tender candidates. I think non-tendering Stammen would be pretty heartless, but that’s the business.
12/2/15 results: the team pre-negotiated two deals with Lobaton and Moore, but ended up non-tendering Stammen. Lets hope they can find a way to bring him back.