Should They Have Been Non-Tendered?

On November 2nd of last year I listed 85 non-tender candidates, most of whom were indeed cut loose.  Almost five months have passed since the December non-tender deadline, and I'd like to revisit five of those decisions.

  • Kevin Kouzmanoff, tendered a contract by the Athletics.  The A's certainly shopped around for third base alternatives after tendering a contract to Kouzmanoff, which ended up being for $4.75MM.  So far the third baseman has again been part of the problem, though he's not alone as the team ranks 11th in the AL with 3.63 runs scored per game.  There weren't many alternatives for the A's this offseason, but they probably should have saved Kouzmanoff's money for a trade deadline addition.  They'll still be able to pursue someone, though.
  • James Loney, tendered a contract by the Dodgers.  Loney is already on notice with the Dodgers given the arrival of Jerry Sands.  Loney settled for a predictable $4.875MM salary for 2011.  Sands doesn't actually project to do any better than Loney, but the two are close enough that the Dodgers probably should have traded Loney and used the money elsewhere.
  • Russell Martin, non-tendered by the Dodgers.  According to Yahoo's Steve Henson, Martin wanted a guaranteed $5.5MM rather than the Dodgers' offer of $4.2MM.  GM Ned Colletti made the difficult decision to non-tender Martin, but kept the offer on the table while suggesting a possible super-utility role.  Martin ended up taking less guaranteed money to start at catcher for the Yankees, and he's off to a great start.  The Dodgers could have forced Martin's hand by tendering a contract and arguing for a pay cut through arbitration.  That would have been a risky choice, and Martin's health was a concern at the time, so I can't fault the Dodgers for non-tendering him.
  • Bobby Jenks, non-tendered by the White Sox.  Non-tendering Jenks was the right move given his $7.5MM salary, and the pitcher understood that decision according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin.  However, Jenks and the Sox were not on the same page about the team's desire to retain him and confidence in his abilities, so he signed with Boston.  The White Sox lead baseball with six blown saves, but it was still best for them to part ways with Jenks.
  • Brandon McCarthy, outrighted by the Rangers in November.  If they had retained McCarthy, the Rangers probably would have had to pay him something similar to last year's $1.3MM salary rather than the $1MM he received from the A's.  McCarthy has looked good so far, though it's only been three starts.  The Rangers are second in the AL in starter ERA without McCarthy.  Still, given the strong offseason interest in him I think it would have been best to tender a contract and shop him around.

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