Potential Non-Tender Candidates

The non-tender deadline is December 2nd this year, a mere six months away.  Let's take a look at some arbitration eligible players who might be on the chopping (or at least trading) block before then due to the combination of rising salaries and lackluster performance.

  • Ike Davis, Mets.  If Davis doesn't turn things around this year, what will the Mets do in the offseason?  One thing about a player having a terrible year is that he doesn't get a big arbitration raise afterward.  So if Davis' salary for next year is to remain below $4MM, the Mets would at least be able to find a team willing to see if a change of scenery helps.
  • Clayton Richard, Padres.  The pitch-to-contact thing doesn't work so well when you also walk a bunch of guys and over 30% of your flyballs leave the yard.  Richard is earning $5.24MM, and should his struggles persist, I imagine the Padres would not bring him back even at the same salary.
  • James McDonald, Pirates.  McDonald's velocity is down, and walks have been a problem.  He's at $3.25MM this year and sports a 5.76 ERA.
  • Luke Hochevar, Royals.  This is a tricky one.  Hochevar's move to the bullpen has gone well, but will the team want to commit $5-6MM for a reliever in 2014?
  • John Axford, Brewers.  Axford quickly lost his closer job again and has a 6.33 ERA on the season.  The silver lining is that he is unscored upon in his last seven appearances.  Axford's save totals have gotten him to $5MM already, and even if he doesn't add any more this year and keeps pitching well, it will be a tough call to retain him through arbitration.
  • Chris Perez, Indians.  Similarly, saves have gotten Perez up to a $7.3MM salary.  He's struggled with walks this year and is currently on the DL with shoulder soreness.  If he comes back, pitches OK, and adds some more saves, the Indians might have a hard time committing $8MM+ for 2014.  Perez would probably be more of a trade candidate than a non-tender candidate.
  • Ryan Roberts, Rays.  Already earning nearly $3MM, Roberts has a .236/.288/.364 line so far.
  • Jeff Niemann, Rays.  Niemann had shoulder surgery in April, and the Rays will be forced in December to decide whether his 2014 season might be worth $3MM.
  • Alfredo Aceves, Red Sox.  Aceves survived last year's non-tender deadline and scored a $2.65MM salary, and the team wasn't able to trade him.  A 6.57 ERA so far in 2013 earned him a demotion today, so he might not make it to the non-tender deadline.
  • A few more non-tender candidates to consider: Nolan Reimold, Emilio Bonifacio, Roger Bernadina, Chris Heisey, Chris Getz, Brennan Boesch, Sam Fuld, John LannanMarc Rzepczynski, and Chris Volstad.
  • Plenty of other arbitration eligible players probably aren't non-tender candidates, though their teams could be reluctant to pay them higher salaries through arbitration.  A few names that come to mind in this bracket include Rick Porcello, Alex Avila, Tommy Hanson, Pedro Alvarez, Ivan Nova, Phil Coke, and Mitchell Boggs.  Some of these players could become trade candidates if their current teams prefer not to pay them next year.

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