A non-tender candidate for each team

Detroit Tigers

MLB’s non-tender deadline is Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET. By that time, every team has to decide whether to offer the players on its 40-man roster with fewer than six years of service time a contract for 2022.

If a team chooses to “non-tender” a player — as in, not offer him a contract for next season — that player immediately becomes a free agent. Players might be non-tendered for a number of reasons, like if their club thinks the raise they’ll get in arbitration would exceed their on-field value, or if it wants to clear space on the 40-man roster.

Here’s one 2022 non-tender candidate for all 30 teams.

The Blue Jays are thin on non-tender candidates, but Thornton could be on that bubble with an arbitration salary projected at $900,000 by MLB Trade Rumors. The 28-year-old right-hander shifted into a relief role in 2021, posting a 4.78 ERA over 49 innings in the big leagues, often bouncing up and down from Triple-A. This would be an easier call if Thornton had succeeded in a longer swingman role, like Ross Stripling, who’s projected to earn $4.4 million in arbitration, but it still won’t be a surprise by any means if the Blue Jays go without a non-tender this winter. — Keegan Matheson

The Orioles already cut ties with Pedro Severino and several other non-tender candidates in 40-man moves over the past few months, leaving López as their toughest decision heading into the deadline. The 28-year-old righty struggled for parts of two seasons in the rotation, but looked rejuvenated in eight short relief appearances down the stretch in 2021. Do the O’s cut him loose, or try to reinvent him into a lockdown reliever? López has always had big stuff without the results to match, and is projected to earn between $1-2 million in arbitration. There would likely be a market for him of teams willing to try unlocking his obvious upside. — Joe Trezza

The Rays don’t feature any obvious non-tender candidates despite having 15 arbitration-eligible players — down from 19 after cutting ties with relievers Cody Reed, Oliver Drake and Adam Conley and then trading 1B/OF Jordan Luplow on Friday. They’ll definitely shed a few of their remaining arb-eligible players, but it seems more likely the Rays will attempt to resolve their ongoing roster crunch this offseason through trades rather than dropping players for no return. Yarbrough, for instance, seems like an intriguing trade candidate even after posting a 5.11 ERA this year given his history of inducing soft contact, the fact that he threw 155 innings and his reasonable $4.4 million salary as projected by MLB Trade Rumors. But perhaps Tampa Bay, with a bunch of young starters coming back and veteran Corey Kluber on the verge of joining the rotation, would consider a non-tender if there isn’t a deal to be had. — Adam Berry

Renfroe is the person listed here only because the Red Sox don’t have any obvious non-tender candidates. Few could argue with the production Renfroe provided for the Sox last season, when he smashed 31 homers and had 96 RBIs. And that was after Boston was able to sign him to a one-year, $3 million contract due to the Rays non-tendering him. The only reason the Red Sox would non-tender Renfroe is if the club views the $7.5 million or so he would make through the arbitration process as money better spent toward acquiring a premium player or for another area of the club, such as pitching. — Ian Browne

Voit led the Majors with 22 home runs during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, but his future as the Bombers’ starting first baseman is now in doubt. As the Yankees mull a salary raise (projected at $5.4 million by MLB Trade Rumors, up from $4.7 million this past year), they may determine that a non-tender is their preferable course of action. Voit’s injury issues prompted the Yanks’ midseason acquisition of first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the Cubs, and the club has remained in contact with Rizzo while also exploring a potential trade for the Athletics’ Matt Olson. Voit was openly shopped in trades ahead of the Trade Deadline and was displeased by his lack of playing time down the stretch. — Bryan Hoch

For now, the Guardians don’t have to worry about tough decisions at the deadline. Shane Bieber, Franmil Reyes, Amed Rosario and Austin Hedges are locks to be tendered heading into next year. And the team did most of the heavy lifting already, designating Nick Wittgren, Harold Ramirez, J.C. Mejia, Daniel Johnson, Scott Moss, Kyle Nelson, Justin Garza and Alex Young for assignment (all of whom were on the 40-man roster). However, what could change this answer is if Cleveland ends up having someone qualify to be a Super Two player. Guys like Bradley Zimmer, Josh Naylor and Cal Quantrill all have enough service time to potentially fall in this category. If that’s the case, Zimmer would be the most likely candidate to be non-tendered, but it’s far from a guarantee. — Mandy Bell

With where the Royals’ infield stands going into 2022, and top prospects like first baseman Nick Pratto now on the 40-man roster and expected to debut next season, O’Hearn might be on the outside looking in when it comes to playing time. The 28-year-old has accumulated -2.3 WAR, according to Baseball Reference, in parts of four seasons in the Majors. And while his power potential flashes at times, the Royals have yet to see it consistently at the Major League level. O’Hearn hit .225/.268/.369 in 84 games in 2021, with just 70 wRC+, per FanGraphs. The Royals could keep him, play him consistently in Triple-A and hope the power shows up when they need him, but with a full 40-man roster right now, the club could use O’Hearn’s spot for a free-agent signing this offseason. — Anne Rogers

Boyd underwent surgery late last season to repair the flexor tendon in his left elbow. He’s expected to miss the start of the season, but he should be back pitching by June. However, the Tigers are still in the market for a starting pitcher after signing Eduardo Rodriguez, having pursued Steven Matz. Another long-term deal for a free-agent starter — or a trade for a controllable one — would likely make Boyd a surplus starter in his final season before free agency. If that’s where the Tigers are headed, they could make a decision on Boyd now. — Jason Beck

The Twins have already culled much of their 40-man roster due to the crunch they faced in the days leading into the deadline to protect prospects from the Rule 5 Draft. Among the choices they have left, Rogers presents as the closest thing they have to a non-tender decision, though it appears unlikely the club would part ways with its bullpen ace, who also serves as a leading voice in the clubhouse. He’s due a raise from the $6 million he earned in 2021, with Cot’s Baseball Contracts projecting a $7 million salary, and he’s coming off a finger injury that cost him the second half of the season. With that said, the Twins have stated that they are aiming to be better in ‘22, and given the consistency of Rogers’ production and the likely demand for a left-handed elite reliever if the Twins were to decide to part ways with him, it might not make too much sense to part ways with him for no return. — Do-Hyoung Park

The White Sox got in front of their non-tender decisions a few weeks ago by outrighting outfielder Brian Goodwin and relievers Evan Marshall, Jimmy Cordero and Jace Fry. All four became free agents. Among Chicago’s three remaining arbitration-eligible players, outfielder Adam Engel had a clean-up surgery on his left shoulder, but he’s expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training. — Jason Beck

The Angels are expected to tender contracts to catcher Max Stassi, reliever Mike Mayers and infielder Phil Gosselin. They already released reliever Junior Guerra and infielder Franklin Barreto, who would’ve both been eligible for arbitration. — Rhett Bollinger

The Astros have six arbitration-eligible players, including starter Framber Valdez and relief pitchers Rafael Montero and Ryan Stanek, but Valdez has been a solid part of Houston’s rotation and both relievers figure to provide bullpen depth in 2022. Díaz, while solid, has struggled with injuries and hit .259/.317/.405 through 84 games this past season. If the Astros don’t sign a shortstop to replace Carlos Correa, Díaz and prospect Jeremy Peña could share time at the spot, so he figures to be a valuable part of the roster. — Kennedi Landry

Offseason rumors continue to swirl about the A’s listening to offers from other clubs for core players like Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea, Chris Bassitt and Frankie Montas, all of whom are arbitration-eligible players. Any of those five who are not dealt away this winter are locks to remain with the team. Oakland’s other five arbitration-eligible players — Ramón Laureano, Chad Pinder, Lou Trivino, Tony Kemp and Deolis Guerra — remain valuable pieces who are expected to receive contracts for the upcoming season. — Martin Gallegos

Moore is the most likely given that he’s set to earn a decent salary boost, and he’s coming off a year in which he hit .181/.276/.334 (.610 OPS) with a 74 wRC+ (league average is 100). He’s proven to be valuable in a super-utility role, but the Mariners could have a 40-man roster crunch that would put his spot in jeopardy. That group is currently at 39, and the club has said at multiple points this offseason that it intends to add impact talent from outside the organization and that it will spend to do so. — Daniel Kramer

The Rangers will still need to clear room on the 40-man roster if they continue to be active in free agency. The club has a number of arbitration-eligible players, but not many they would definitely be willing to let go loose. Infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa and starting pitcher Taylor Hearn are both more than likely to be important pieces moving forward, and lefty Brett Martin has been a solid piece of the bullpen. Calhoun was the main piece of the Yu Darvish trade with the Dodgers back in 2017, but he has been plagued with injuries, many of which were just pure bad luck, throughout his time in Texas. He slashed .250/.310/.381 (.691 OPS) through just 75 games in 2021 after suffering a broken hand following a hit-by-pitch. The Rangers will have to make the difficult decision if Calhoun will remain with the club with a chance to stick around. — Kennedi Landry

With uncertainty surrounding Mike Soroka’s future, the Braves have to at least discuss non-tendering or giving him a deal that protects against the challenge of returning from a second torn right Achilles. The club could also discuss Richard Rodríguez and Orlando Arcia, but both could provide quality depth in 2022. The most likely non-tender candidates are Newcomb and Johan Camargo, who have both faded from the club’s long-term plans over the past few years. — Mark Bowman

Acquired in the J.T. Realmuto trade, Alfaro has an 82 OPS+ in three seasons with the Marlins. Though he boasts elite exit velocity, arm strength and sprint speed for the position, injuries and lack of contact have limited his production. The writing was on the wall for Alfaro, who is eligible for arbitration for the second time, when Miami picked up two catchers ahead of the Trade Deadline. The backstop position likely will be externally filled this offseason. — Christina DeNicola

Gsellman was a non-tender candidate last offseason, but the Mets decided to keep him around on what became a $1.3 million arbitration contract. He wound up pitching only 28 2/3 innings due to a torn right lat muscle, and although he mustered a 3.77 ERA in those innings, Gsellman struck out a career-low 5.3 batters per nine. The Mets could gamble again that Gsellman will stay healthy and productive, but they’re more likely to move in a different direction. — Anthony DiComo

Harper, 32, split time between the Majors (34 games) and Triple-A (13 games) in his third big league season. The reliever went 0-2 with a 4.04 ERA over 35 2/3 innings with the Nationals, which included 27 scoreless appearances. Harper’s ERA ballooned to 12.79 for the month of September, though, after being hit hard in back-to-back outings. The Nationals will have to determine if Harper fits into their bullpen plans for what would be his third season with the team. — Jessica Camerato

Quinn is one of baseball’s fastest players. His average sprint speed last season (30.0 feet per second) tied with Byron Buxton for eighth in baseball, according to Statcast. Quinn also has one of baseball’s strongest arms in the outfield. Those two qualities alone make Quinn an intriguing weapon off the bench. But Quinn has been notoriously injury prone throughout his career. In fact, he tore his left Achilles in May, which required surgery. As the Phillies look to build up their roster, they might decide it is time to move on from the exciting, albeit frustrating Quinn. — Todd Zolecki

“On-base Jace” was one of Milwaukee’s most pleasant surprises for most of 2021, bouncing around the infield and outfield with an on-base percentage north of .400 and an OPS north of .800 into the first week of September. But a late-season fade plus the addition this month of former Rays utility man Mike Brosseau could put Peterson in a roster crunch, especially considering the Brewers’ long list of arbitration-eligible players. — Zachary Silver

Rondón displayed some prodigious pop during Spring Training and did the same when he received a callup at the end of May. But given his standing — a 27-year-old journeyman not bred through the Cardinals’ system — he may be limited to a one-year cameo should St. Louis dole out any non-tenders. The rise of a youngster like Brendan Donovan — the club’s No. 17 prospect who was an Arizona Fall League All-Star and can play multiple positions — would likely make Rondón’s role redundant in 2022. Donovan also one-ups Rondón in that he provides a left-handed bat — something the big league club sorely needs. — Zachary Silver

Happ had a down year in 2021 on offense relative to his career, and in the first half, he was on the fast track to being a strong non-tender candidate. Through 77 games, he hit .183 with a .626 OPS, and he was dropped from the leadoff spot before the first month of the season was over. But Happ turned the page in the second half, hitting 16 homers in 71 games to power an .886 OPS and cement himself as the No. 3 hitter in the final month. At this point, tendering Happ a contract seems like a sure thing, but he’s the most interesting case on the 40-man roster. — Jake Crouse

Moran has batted primarily in the cleanup spot the past two seasons, but that may be more of an indication of the scuffling Pirates’ offense than Moran’s offense. The left-handed hitter has been average relative to the Majors in that span (103 OPS+), and he ended 2021 in a long slump, batting .189 in 28 games over September and October. Then, on Thursday, sources told MLB.com that the Pirates reached an agreement with Yoshi Tsutsugo on a one-year, $4 million deal, a player with whom general manager Ben Cherington said talks had been centered around first base. Moran is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make $4 million himself in arbitration. Will they pay $8 million for essentially two first basemen? And will Pittsburgh decide to get rid of Moran before it finds out if the National League will have a DH, or if first-base prospect Mason Martin is selected in the Rule 5 Draft? — Jake Crouse

In 2019 and ‘20, Garrett was one of the Reds’ most reliable relievers. This past season, however, the left-hander didn’t earn his $1.5 million. In fact, he is one of the reasons the Reds had one of the worst bullpens in the Major Leagues and didn’t play in the postseason. Yes, Garrett led the team in appearances, but he was hit often and had a 6.04 ERA with seven saves. His best month of the season was in May when he had a 3.52 ERA. Garrett is eligible for arbitration for the second time and under team control through 2023. Will the Reds be able to sign him before the tender deadline on Tuesday? It’s anybody’s guess. — Bill Ladson

A year ago, the notion that Walker could be non-tendered seemed unthinkable, but after he struggled mightily in 2021, it seems like a distinct possibility. Injuries limited him to just 115 games and Walker never could get going at the plate despite all the time he spent working with the hitting coaches and taking extra work in the cage. His two stints on the injured list were for oblique issues, which could have impacted his swing. The D-backs have a first-base option in Pavin Smith, who was forced to play more in the outfield over the past two seasons, but came up through the Arizona system at first base. With a team in rebuilding mode, does it make sense to spend $2.5 million or so on Walker, who will be 31 on Opening Day? More likely, he either agrees to a deal before the deadline or gets non-tendered. — Steve Gilbert

Barnes’ presence on this list speaks to the depth of the Dodgers’ roster and the fact that, well, they don’t have too many non-tender candidates because most of their arbitration-eligible players are superstars — Trea Turner, Max Muncy, Walker Buehler, Julio Urías. Even Cody Bellinger, after a rough regular season, seemed to quash any non-tender talk with a huge postseason. So that brings us to Barnes, who struggled in 2021, posting a .215/.299/.345 slash line and near replacement-level WAR. But Barnes made only $2.65 million last season and is a completely serviceable backup option to Will Smith. He’s been integral in some of the Dodgers’ past successes. It’s hard to envision them letting him go. — AJ Cassavell

Lamet is a year removed from a fourth-place Cy Young finish and one of the most dominant pitching seasons in Padres history. But he lands on this list because of his injury issues. Lamet spent four separate stints on the IL last season with elbow trouble. By the end of the season, he’d been fashioned into a one-inning reliever with middling results. Lamet’s stuff is as dominant as any pitcher in the sport — particularly his high-octane slider. But he’s due a raise on the $4.2 million he made last season. Lamet is under team control for two more years, so ultimately, it’s unlikely the Padres cut ties with him. But their decision should speak volumes as to how they truly feel about the health of his elbow. — AJ Cassavell

The Rockies have already non-tendered a few players, and they may very well be done with that process for this offseason — right-handers Chi Chi González and Yency Almonte, as well as infielder Rio Ruiz were not offered contracts to return to Colorado. There are likely no other non-tenders coming as the deadline for such transactions approaches, but the only possible candidate is Tapia. In his six seasons with the Rockies, Tapia has hit .280/.325/.395 (80 OPS+) with flashes of potential, mostly in the form of an above-average batting average. But the on-base component hasn’t been there — he’s walked 87 times in 1,425 plate appearances. Still, Tapia’s defense has improved, and the Rockies will likely hold on to him given his potential trade value and/or the hope he’ll continue to improve at the plate. — Manny Randhawa

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