You’ll hear all sorts of things about the non-tender deadline today. Here’s what it is:
By midnight tonight teams have to decide whether to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. If they do, the team retains control over the player, the team and the player can negotiate salary for 2014 and, if they can’t come to an agreement over that (i.e. an agreement avoiding arbitration) they will proceed to submit proposed salaries to one another and have a salary arbitration early in the spring.
If the team non-tenders a player, that player immediately becomes a free agent. Basically, the calculus is whether or not the team thinks the guy is worth the low end of what he might receive in arbitration. Or, put differently, if the guy isn’t worth what he made in 2013, he’s probably going to be non-tendered. Not that there are a lot of those guys, as most arbitration-eligible players are young and have just recently made the minimum or something close to it.
Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors compiled a list of possible non-tender candidates last month. Some of them have since either signed deals avoiding arbitration or are rumored to be in talks to do so. Some of the names are intriguing. Others less so. What you often see here are players with one tool — like a no-hit, good defense infielder or a power corner outfielder with holes in other parts of his game — who may or may not be worth a gamble.
We’ll update you with any notable non-tenders as the deadline approaches and passes.
As expected, Major League Baseball’s league-wide home run record, set in 2000, was tied and surpassed on Tuesday night, both by players named Alex who play for AL Central teams.
Tigers outfielder Alex Presley tied the record at 5,693, per MLB.com’s David Adler, with a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning against Athletics starter Daniel Gossett. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon broke the record roughly 12 minutes later with a solo home run to lead off the top of the eighth inning against Blue Jays reliever Ryan Tepera.
Major League Baseball saw the record nearly broken last year, when 5,610 home runs were hit. The only other season above 5,500 was 1999 at 5,528.
Earlier this month, Yankees starter CC Sabathia jawed at the Red Sox after Eduardo Nunez laid down a bunt. Sabathia fielded it fine, but threw the ball away for an error. After the game, he called Nunez’s bunt “weak” and said the Red Sox should “swing the bat.” Sabathia, of course, is not that limber these days. Along with being 37 years old, the lefty has also battled knee and hamstring issues this season.
The Twins apparently didn’t hear what Sabathia had to say about bunting. After Brian Dozier singled off of Sabathia to lead off the top of the first inning on Tuesday, Joe Mauer laid down a bunt on the third base side and reached safely. Jorge Polanco then laid down a bunt of his own, also on the third base side, and was initially ruled out, but after replay review was ruled safe to load the bases with no outs.
Fortunately for Sabathia, he was able to limit the damage, getting Eduardo Escobar to ground into a run-scoring 6-4-3 double play and inducing an inning-ending ground out from Byron Buxton. It’ll be interesting, though, to see if the Twins continue to bunt against Sabathia throughout the night.