The non-tender deadline is midnight tonight

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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.

Tom Ricketts says the Cubs don’t have any more money

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Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.

First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.

More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:

The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.