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.