MLB Non-Tenders—List and Analysis

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Here’s a list of the MLB players who were not tendered a contract for 2012.

Among the non-tenders are some surprising names that are sure to draw widespread interest.

The most interesting/intriguing players are discussed.

Fabio Castillo; RHP; age 22—Texas Rangers

Dan Cortes; RHP; age 24—Seattle Mariners

Cortes is huge (6’6”, 235) and has put up solid strikeout numbers in the minors as both a starter and reliever. He can be wild but there’s a pitcher in there somewhere; his hits/innings pitched ratio of 659/691 and that he doesn’t allow many homers (50) make him an attractive look-see.

Willie Eyre; RHP; age 33—Baltimore Orioles

Cole Garner; OF; bats and throws right; age 27—Colorado Rockies

Garner’s shown the ability to hit, hit for pop and run in the minors and never got a chance in the big leagues.

Chris Gimenez; C; bats and throws right; age 29—Seattle Mariners

Gimenez is a journeyman who doesn’t hit, but he can throw from behind the plate.

Clay Hensley; RHP; age 32—Miami Marlins

Hensley can start or relieve and be useful-to-good if he’s healthy. He missed substantial time in 2011 with a shoulder problem.

Jeremy Hermida; OF; age 28 in January; bats left, throws right—San Diego Padres

Hermida’s become an “oh him” guy where everyone wants to pick him up and hope they unlock the talent that made him a first round pick. He has power and is a pretty good defensive corner outfielder.

Koyie Hill; C; age 33 in March; bats both, throws right—Chicago Cubs

Rich Hill; LHP; age 32 in March—Boston Red Sox

Jeff Keppinger; INF; age 32 in April; bats right, throws right—San Francisco Giants

Hong-Chih Kuo; LHP; age 30—Los Angeles Dodgers

This is a pitcher who’s going to be in demand, might get a multi-year contract and will either be a huge success or a disaster.

He’s had Tommy John surgery twice; he missed a large chunk of 2011 with an anxiety disorder and has had back problems.

But when he’s right, he’s unhittable with a near 100 mph fastball and wicked slider.

Expect the big guns to take a serious look at Kuo.

Aaron Laffey; LHP; age 27 in April—Kansas City Royals

Jose Mijares; LHP; age 27—Minnesota Twins

Peter Moylan; RHP; age 33—Atlanta Braves

The side-arming Moylan missed much of the 2011 season with a rotator cuff problem. Presumably the Braves want him back but didn’t want to pay him in arbitration.

Micah Owings; RHP/PH; age 29—Arizona Diamondbacks

Owings found a home in the bullpen in 2011 and he’s a weapon off the bench with his bat when he’s not pitching. I’d expect him back with the Diamondbacks.

Ronny Paulino; C; age 31 in April; bats right, throws right—New York Mets

No one on the Mets had a nice word to say about his work ethic or attitude.

Jo-Jo Reyes; LHP; age 27—Baltimore Orioles

Will Rhymes; 2B; age 29 in April; bats left, throws right—Detroit Tigers

Joe Saunders; LHP; age 30—Arizona Diamondbacks

Saunders gives up a lot of hits; a lot of home runs; his control and stuff aren’t particularly great; but he’s durable. If you put him on a good team that scores a lot of runs; plays their home games in a big ballpark; or has a good bullpen, he’ll win 15 games, lose 13 and give 200 innings.

Luke Scott; OF/1B; age 33; bats left, throws right—Baltimore Orioles

Scott missed most of 2011 with a shoulder injury. His home/away splits with the Orioles are atrocious—he murdered the ball in Camden Yards and was useless on the road. He has power and can be a veteran threat off the bench.

Doug Slaten; LHP; age 32 in February—Washington Nationals

Andy Sonnanstine; RHP; age 29 in March—Tampa Bay Rays

Ryan Spilborghs; OF; age 32; bats right, throws right—Colorado Rockies

Ryan Theriot; INF; age 32; bats right, throws right—St. Louis Cardinals

Eli Whiteside; C; age 32; bats right, throws right—San Francisco Giants

There are some players who will help certain teams—possibly help them a lot—but, as usual, the non-tender wire is the scrapheap where luck trumps analytical skill.

Unless we’re talking about the Pirates.

But they didn’t non-tender anyone they could’ve used as they did with Matt Capps two years ago.

Then again, they’re the Pirates and doing something stupid is part of their routine at one point or another. They just haven’t done it yet. But they will.

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Mets vs Phillies—In The Medical Theatre

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The Mets 7-1 win last night and good start aside, I don’t think anyone with a sane mind and any concept of baseball believes that it’s an indicator of a turning of the tide from recent years. The Phillies are walking wounded and, by the time the summer rolls around, will be far ahead of the Mets.

They’re in two different stratospheres right now with divergent goals. Of course both teams want to win, but the Phillies’ expectations are beyond the scope—it’s World Series or bust; the Mets are trying to regain their footing after years of dysfunction and embarrassment on and off the field.

The win last night was nice, but it’s a speck in the cosmic scheme of things.

It’s pointless to talk about a rekindling of the Mets-Phillies rivalry with the clubs heading in opposite directions. Can the Mets give the Phillies a problem this year? Sure. Will it be a make-or-break problem? No.

What I’m thinking about is the different perceptions of both clubs.

Given the Mets disastrous medical history over the past two seasons, it’s fair to ridicule their handling of injuries. It hasn’t been as bad this year because the new regime is still on the honeymoon period, but Jason Bay and Ronny Paulino are on the disabled list. Because of their history with injuries, the Mets have again been the object of deadpan humor. It’s not accurate, but it’s out there.

What I’m wondering is what the reaction would be if it were the Mets who had a player the caliber of Chase Utley out with a seemingly undiagnosed injury without a comprehensive treatment plan in place.

What would be said? Where would the jokes end—if they ever did?

Utley is still out for the Phillies; he hasn’t had surgery; he can’t run; the Phillies don’t know much more than anyone else does; they’ve been equivocating since the news broke that Utley was hurt.

He’s just on the disabled list with a knee problem.

This posting by Ken Rosenthal on Foxsports adds to the air of mystery, the fog of unknowing.

What is wrong with Chase Utley‘s knee? Is it arthritis? Tendinitis? A bone bruise? Is it chronic? Is it an actual game-related injury from wear-and-tear? Would surgery repair it?

Is this career-threatening?

Does anyone have a diagnosis and treatment plan for what the problem is?

As devastating as microfracture surgery is (and I’m not suggesting that Utley needs that delicate and not always successful procedure), at least you know what’s needed to fix the issue.

Carlos Beltran‘s knee is said to be “bone-on-bone”, but doctors said microfracture surgery was not required for Beltran; the procedure was needed to try and save the career of Grady Sizemore. Beltran is compromised and in as good a shape as he’s going to get; Sizemore is working his way back.

With their pitching, the Phillies will get by without Utley for awhile; if the injury is going to keep him out completely, they have the prospects to make a move for an available bat at second base, third base or the outfield when the time comes. But what about Utley, who’s one of the best players in baseball?

If the Phillies are waiting for Utley to begin jogging before taking the next step, what if his knee doesn’t improve so he can function at even 70% capacity without pain?

How can they fix a problem if no one is acknowledging what it is and what the treatment options are? And if surgery isn’t the answer; if rest doesn’t work, then what?

Then what?

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My podcast appearance with SportsFanBuzz previewing the season is posted. You can listen here The SportsFan Buzz: March 30, 2011 or on iTunes.

I was on with Mike at NYBaseballDigest and his preview as well. You can listen here.

I’m scheduled to be on with Sal against next week, but he’s an accountant and it’s tax time, so he might be zoned out by the end of the week which will leave me to my own devices on the podcast!

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Paul Lebowitz’s 2011 Baseball Guide is available and will be useful for your fantasy leagues all season long.

I published a full excerpt of my book here.

It’s available now. Click here to get it in paperback or E-Book on I-Universe or on Amazon or BN. It’s also available via E-book on Borders.com.

It’s also out on Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook.

If anyone would like to purchase an autographed copy, leave a comment; Email me; contact me on Facebook or Twitter. We’ll hash out the details.


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