Non-Tender: It Tastes Like Chicken

Posted by timahuwe on November 29, 2015 at 1:00 AM

Baseball is filled wih deadlines. Two trade deadlines exist, one each at the end of July and August. We just passed a deadline to exempt players from the Rule 5 draft in December. However, to prevent you from going too long without a deadline, teams face a non-tender deadline on December 2nd.

Most of the Cubs non-tendering discussion, as it will be, will be on Travis Wood. They can keep the lefty pitcher, and give him whatever the fee ends up being. Or, they could let him go, and try to fill his 'skeleton key' role elsewhere. But Wood's case isn't the one under consideration. Look for a minute at the page on The Cub Reporter.

Non-tendering means, in effect, not giving the player the standard/automatic contract. In part, this has to do with productivity. However, a decent chunk is to save a 40 Man roster spot.

Among the Cubs options on the 40, Yoervis Medina, Christian Villanueva, and Matt Szczur all look like potential options to be non-tendered, as well. If the team and player (in advance) come to an agreement, he can be brought back off of the 40 Man. (Even at the league minimum of $500,000 plus a bit, a player like Dallas Beeler is a steal. As he has an option left, there's no reason to mess with his status. You never know when the required command might arrive. With Beeler, Eric Jokisch, Drew Rucinski, and Pierce Johnson, the Cubs are well on their way to a usable rotation in Iowa.)

 The three mentioned above would have next-to-no trade value, as they would have to break camp with the team out of spring training. As they are still under contract to the Cubs, they really can't negotiate elsewhere. If given a valid offer, the temptation to remain 'in system' would be tempting. Which is why it's a nice tool to use.

Having spots open in the 40 Man is a tool. The guys you add might not work out. In some instances, the next option might even be to run them through waivers again. An off-season goal should be to add as much potential talent as feasible. No, it won't always work. Oftentimes, it won't. However, having a guy around for spring training give your team one more chance to benefit from the next Miguel Socolovich.

Socolovich bounced from team to team, including the Cubs, before gaining his footing in St. Louis. Now, since he was in the minor leagues for so long, he is cost-controlled until 2022. For pitchers, the light may never 'go on', but the benefits are plenty for the team that has him when they do. The Cubs briefly had Liam Hendriks in the fold. He was recently dealt for Jesse Chavez.

Look for the Cubs (and other teams) to carve out a bit more roster space by Wednesday. With the Cubs, that day will be Wednesday. When the Cubs have a deadline, they will push the edges of it. Then do what they have to. Then, they will likey have a few more roster spots open. As other teams might non-tender players the Cubs value, some of those roster spots might fill sooner than later.

Look for the third (Thursday) to be a busy day.

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