Today marks the day in which teams must tender a contract to all players who are arbitration eligible and have under six years of service. Depending on who you believe, this year's non-tender deadline could be a flood of talent or a drizzle of disappointment. We've covered the Rays situation in length, but the Rays do have 10 players who must be tendered a contract by midnight tonight
B.J.Upton, Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza, Grant Balfour, Lance Cormier, Kelly Shoppach, Randy Choate, J.P. Howell, Gabe Grossand DIoner Navarro. Eight out of the 10 should receive offers with the final two, Gross and Navarro, being the most realistic options for non-tendering. You could make a case that Cormier and Choate could also be non-tendered in the interest of saving a little bit of cash, but both proved they can handle life in the AL East and are in line for modest raises that won't bankrupt the team. There is the notion that the Rays could choose between Shoppach and Navarro, but how silly would it be to give up a player (who shall remain nameless) for Shoppach and then let him go just a few days later?
Around the league there could be some decent names let go. Kevin Correia figures to headline the non-tender class if he's not traded before then. The Padres do not want to pay Corriea the $4 million or so he seeks. If he hits the market his 3.81 FIP and 2.4 WAR will attract a lot of interest. Other names could include: Garrett Atkins, Jack Cust, Kelly Johnson, Chien-Ming Wang and our old pal Jonny Gomes. Former Ray Seth McClung has already been notified that he will be non-tendered
With the payroll being what it is, the Rays most likely won't be in on the bigger names, but they did add non-tenders, Cormier and Joe Nelson, last year. I expect the Rays to take interest in some of the available talent most likely at the catcher and relief pitcher spots. Names like Jeremy Accardo, Bill Bray, and possibly Renyel Pinto could be interesting, but we'll just have to see who actually is or isn't tendered.
We will have a separate post for the Rays decisions when made, but in the meantime feel free to discuss all the non-tendering here.
Note: Randy Choate is coming back.