56 players non-tendered, become free agents

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With Monday’s 8 PM ET contract tendering deadline past, it’s official: 56 players were not tendered contracts and are now free agents, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports. There were over 200 players, so roughly 75 percent of eligible players were tendered contracts.

We mentioned that shortstop Addison Russell is among them. Other notable players not tendered contracts include outfielder Kevin Pillar (who received an MVP vote), shortstop Tim Beckham, second baseman César Hernández, third baseman Maikel Franco, starter Taijuan Walker, starter Jimmy Nelson, reliever Blake Treinen, infielder José Peraza, and catcher Josh Phegley.

Teams consider a player’s health, age, and production when deciding whether or not to tender them contracts, as well their projected salaries in arbitration and the teams’ own payroll flexibility. Non-tendered players also open up a spot on the 40-man roster, which can be important for some teams with the Rule 5 draft that will take place next week during the Winter Meetings.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.