Author: Craig Calcaterra

Watchmen Clock

The non-tender deadline is midnight tonight


The non-tender deadline is today. What’s that, you ask?

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. At that point, the team and the player can negotiate salary for 2015 and, if they can’t come to an agreement over that (i.e. an agreement usually referred to as “avoiding arbitration”) they will proceed to submit proposed salaries to one another and have a salary arbitration early in the spring.

If, on the other hand, the team non-tenders a player, that player immediately becomes a free agent. Any team which signs him retains the same number of years of control over him that his old team had. Meaning that, if he still has arbitration years left, he goes through the process again. Here are all the players who got non-tendered last year.

Basically, the tender/non-tender 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 2014, he’s probably going to be non-tendered. Or if he’s an injury question mark. 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.

So, that’s the non-tender thing. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

The Braves and Astros discussed an Evan Gattis trade . . . but there was a catch

Gattis Getty

Ken Rosenthal reports that, over the summer, the Braves and Astros discussed a trade involving Evan Gattis for a package that could include Dexter Fowler and either a pitcher or catcher Carlos Corporan. But, though the talks “had legs,” they didn’t result in anything because the Braves had one request to go along with it:

The Astros first began targeting Evan Gattis last summer. And when they asked about Gattis again early in the offseason, the Braves came back with an interesting response, according to major-league sources:

Maybe, if you take B.J. Upton, too.

And the $46.5 million he is owed. The Astros understandably balked, but Rosenthal says that they are still interested in Gattis, so perhaps everyone can revisit this again soon.

In other news, the Braves sent me an email with Cyber Monday offers for their team store yesterday. I was gonna get a sweet Freddie Freeman shirsey at 25% off, but they insisted I take a B.J. Upton one at full price too . . .

The Phillies never made Yasmany Tomas an offer

yasmani tomas cuba getty

For the longest time the Phillies were said to be the “front runners” for Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas. Yet, as Matt Gelb reports today, they never even made him an offer. This from Tomas’ agent, Jay Alou:

Jay Alou said Monday the Phillies showed constant interest but never submitted a formal contract offer. Alou believed Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. had to “clear salary” before making a substantial commitment to Tomas.

“His hands were tied,” Alou said.

Amaro had no comment apart from saying that the Dbacks valued Tomas more.

I know a lot of people will turn this into another instance of mocking Amaro for incompetence, but I also seem to remember that the Phillies’ reported interest cooled on Tomas, somewhat abruptly a couple of weeks before he signed. Which I think is better to take as a matter of the Phillies’ opinion on him changing, the perceived bidding getting too high or both.

There’s enough of a reason to talk smack about Amaro. I don’t think the team not being willing to make a massive commitment to a guy who presents risk is one of them. A lot of people around baseball think Tomas will be good, but mileage varying on that is not unreasonable.

Murray Chass: you’re no blogger

Murray Chass

Everyone tells me to ignore Murray Chass and most of the time I do. But this time of year it’s good to remember that the people in charge of such things continue to think it’s a grand idea that this relatively unread crackpot gets to keep voting for the Hall of Fame. Yes, he gets to be a part of history making, and he does so on the power of logic and integrity displayed thusly:

I voted for Bagwell on his first appearance on the ballot, when he received 41.7 percent of the votes. After several people told me that he had been heavily involved in steroids, I left him off my ballot the second year . . . Biggio will almost certainly be elected this time. He was only two votes short of election in the last election and should clear the threshold, even though a reporter friend told me that a dozen or more players told him that Biggio used steroids.

And he revisits his Mike Piazza back acne fixation once again. Which, yes, Chass is gonna Chass, so it’s not like I’m surprised at his unhinged PED stuff.

But I am surprised at is the fact that Chass seems happy to rely on secondhand hearsay like he does with Biggio. I mean, whatever you can say about the guy, he was never anything less than an assiduous reporter on other topics. He’s from the “If your mother says she loves you, check it out” school of journalism. Yet “a guy told a friend of mine who told me” is good enough for him here.

We jokingly call Chass a “blogger” because he bristles at that title and thinks bloggers are awful. But I think we owe it to Chass to retire that little bit of name-calling. Because, as a guy who runs a blog, I can assure you, I’d never allow one of my bloggers to accuse someone of something on as little evidence as Chass does here. I’d probably fire him, actually.

Murray Chass: you’re no blogger.

Baseball’s annual PED report has been released


MLB and the MLBPA released the annual public report from the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program’s Independent Program Administrator. It’s the thing that says how many positive drug tests there were, for what, etc.

The notable numbers, which cover the period starting when the 2013 World Series ended until the 2014 World Series ended:

  • Total number of drug tests:  7,929. 6,394 of those were urine samples, 1,535 were blood tests.
  • Tests that resulted in discipline: 12. Two were for what the Joint Drug Agreement defines as Performances Enhancing Substances — one was Boldenone, the other Methandienone — and ten were for stimulants, including Adderall (8), Methylhexaneamine (1) and Modafanil (1). There was one non-analytical positive.
  • There were 113 Therapeutic Use Exemptions granted, all but one for attention deficit disorder. There was one TUE for hypogonadism.

As always, the number of players who get exemptions for ADD drugs is a bit higher than the occurrence of ADD in the population at large and, once you eliminate kids, it’s likely considerably higher. But such is the stuff of the JDA. It’s probably more surprising that ten guys took stimulants without getting the easy use exemption.