On October 5th and November 20th of last year I named my non-tender candidates. On December 12th, many players were actually cut. With the benefit of hindsight, consider these groupings:
Thankfully Tendered Contracts: Jose Bautista, Matt Lindstrom, Delmon Young, Matt Belisle
The Blue Jays tendered Bautista a contract and signed him the following day at the same salary he had in 2009 ($2.4MM). To me that's a sign that if Bautista had communicated the desire for a raise prior to the December 12th deadline, he would've been non-tendered. The Astros did well to buy low on Lindstrom, who probably wouldn't have been tendered a contract had he stayed with the Marlins.
The Twins never considered cutting Young despite an unimpressive '09 season. He's only earning $2.6MM this year, anyway. Including him on the list of non-tender candidates was entirely my bad idea. Belisle received a very small raise from the Rockies and has been excellent out of their pen.
Should Have Been Tendered Contracts: Matt Capps, John Buck, D.J. Carrasco, Kelly Johnson
Jonny Gomes was left off the list since the Reds were able to re-sign him cheaply. Given the strong play of Martin Prado for the Braves, you could make the case that cutting Johnson was the right move. But we are operating with the benefit of hindsight here, and maybe they could've found him some playing time and rebuilt his value.
Capps was a surprise non-tender by the Pirates. GM Neal Huntington did well in the Octavio Dotel trade, but what if he had been able to peddle both relievers? Retaining Buck would've made sense for the Royals, but they spent more money on a player lacking upside in Jason Kendall. I wouldn't say the White Sox badly needed D.J. Carrasco, but he retained value this year.
Should Have Been Non-Tendered: Bobby Jenks, Mark Teahen, Jeremy Hermida, John Maine, Conor Jackson, Dioner Navarro, Brian Bruney, Kelly Shoppach, Jeff Francoeur
In mid-December most of these risks were worth taking. Jenks hasn't been as bad as his 5.13 ERA, but the White Sox could've spent that money elsewhere. Obviously traded players like Bruney, Hermida, Shoppach, and Teahen weren't going to be non-tendered by their new teams. But did the White Sox and Rays have to give Teahen and Shoppach multiyear deals? Overall these nine players earned over $30MM in 2010.