Detroit Tigers fans shouldn’t see any players non-tendered. That’s obviously all purely speculative, but there aren’t many, if any, non-tender candidates on Detroit’s roster.
Detroit Tigers executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager Al Avila—as well as the rest of the front office, began the season with eight different players eligible for arbitration.
The eight included shortstop Jose Iglesias, outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, utility man Andrew Romine, catcher James McCann as well as relievers Bruce Rondon, Blaine Hardy, Alex Wilson and Shane Greene.
While the Tigers can always try and work out a contract or go to arbitration with a player, non-tendering a player is an option as well.
In this scenario, the player could be cut loose.
Regarding Detroit’s arbitration-eligible players, two have already been accounted for—or rather, they won’t be going through arbitration with the Tigers.
Romine was claimed by the Seattle Mariners on waivers, while Detroit announced in a tweet on November 25 that the team had avoided arbitration with Hardy on a one-year contract.
The other six
That leaves six players who could theoretically be non-tendered.
However, for a multitude of reasons, none of them should be non-tendered.
Castellanos and McCann will be integral to the next phase of the Tigers’ rebuild. They may or may not be on the next great Detroit team, but they’re key players for the current group.
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The duo won’t simply be cut.
Elsewhere in players who shouldn’t be non-tendered are Wilson and Greene.
As it stands, the relievers are the only reliable bullpen arms Detroit has at the moment.
Unless they’re traded before Opening Day, both should stick around.
Iglesias could conceivably be non-tendered to shed salary.
However, it makes more sense for the Tigers to trade the shortstop rather than let him go for nothing.
As it stands, MLBTradeRumors projects that the veteran will earn $5.6 million via arbitration this winter.
Rounding out the list is Bruce Rondon.
The pitcher hasn’t been perfect in the past, but he’s simply too talented to cast by the wayside.
If the Tigers were going to part ways with the hurler, they probably would have done so by now in the offseason.
Below are the stat lines of three different relievers in the second half of the 2016 campaign.
Reliever A: 29 innings, 0.7 fWAR, 15.2% swinging strike percentage, 14.90 strikeouts per nine innings and a 38.1% strikeout rate. Also a 1.31 WHIP, a 3.72 ERA, a 2.70 FIP and a 2.94 SIERA.
Reliever B: 26.2 innings, 0.5 fWAR, a 15.6% swinging strike percentage, 11.81 strikeouts per nine innings and a 32.1% strikeout rate. Also a 1.01 WHIP, a 2.70 ERA, a 2.85 FIP and a 2.79 SIERA.
Reliever C: 36.1 innings, 0.3 fWAR, a 14.8% swinging strike percentage, 11.39 strikeouts per nine innings and a 28.8% strikeout rate. Also a 1.43 WHIP, a 2.97 ERA, a 3.50 FIP and a 3.59 SIERA.
If Rondon can pitch at a similarly high level in 2018 under a new coaching staff, he would immediately become a key part of the Detroit Tigers future.
The flame throwing right hander would give Detroit a promising late-inning pairing for the present with Greene. His resurgence would also make Wilson or even Greene himself expendable.
This would allow general manager Al Avila to recoup even more prospects in a trade.
MLBTradeRumors projects Rondon to make $1.2 million through arbitration. That’s a small price to pay if the right-hander can bounce back and be effective once again.