Love Me Non-Tender

Today is the deadline for clubs to submit their Central Tender Letter (CTL) to the MLB Labor Relations Department (LRD), listing all unsigned players on the club's MLB Reserve List (AKA "40-man roster"), and which of them are being tendered a 2012 contract, and which are not.

After checking the letter for possible errors (like "Mr. Hendry, are you really sure you want to tender Koyie Hill?"), the LRD forwards a copy of the CTL to the MLB Players Association (MLBPA), and then the MLBPA notifies each player and his agent.


There are two types of unsigned players, those who are eligible for salary arbitration, and those who are not yet eligible.


A player on an MLB Reserve List becomes eligible for salary arbitration automatically once he has accrued at least three years of MLB Service Time, and certain players with less than three years of MLB Service Time (known as a "Super Two") are also eligible.


A "Super Two" is any player on an MLB Reserve List with more than two but less than three years of MLB Service Time who accrued at least 86 days of MLB Service Time the previous season, where the player is in the top 17% in MLB Service Time of that group (top 22% beginning post-2012).


Unsigned players on an MLB Reserve List who are not yet eligible for salary arbitration ("auto-renewal" players) are pretty much at the mercy of the club. The club has the right to decide unilaterally how much it will pay the player (subject to the MLB minimum salary and the maximum salary-cut rules), and the player can either take it or hold out and not play (and probably go on the Restricted List).


That said, a club (usually the assistant GM) will negotiate with an auto-renewal player (occasionally haggling for weeks over relatively small sums of money, sometimes as litttle as $500), and to keep them motivated, the club almost always wil reward the ones who had good seasons with a raise (sometimes a substantial raise).


Players eligible for salary arbitration are in a much better negotiating position.


First of all, while a player may be eligible, the club does not actually offer salary arbitration to the player on December 12th. A player who is eligible for salary arbitration is only tendered or non-tendered on 12/12, Salary arbitration can't be requested by either the player or the club unless the two sides have not come to an agreement on a contract by January 5th. Then there is a ten-day "window" (ending on January 15th) where either the player or the club can request salary arbitration.


In practice, the club does not request salary arbitration, because if no agreement has been reached by January 15th and the player has not requested salary arbitration by that date, the player automatically becomes an "auto-renewal" player, and the club can unilaterally dictate the terms of the contract (which obviously would be great for the club). So if a player is eligible for salary arbitration and no agreement has been reached by January 5th, the player absolutely, positively WILL request salary arbitration before the window closes.


Once salary arbitration is requested, the two sides exchange "official" salary figures, and a hearing is scheduled before a three-person arbitration panel sometime during the first three weeks of February. In the meantime, the player and the club could have as long as a month to negotiate an agreement.


While an arbitration panel is required to weigh the evidence presented by each side (usually in the form of statistics comparing the player to another similar player) and then choose either the club's salary offer or the player's salary request, the player and the club frequently will decide to essentially "split the difference" (something the arbitration panel cannot do) and settle prior to the hearing, since it's next to impossible to predict how an arbitration panel will rule, and that can be dangerous for both sides, especially if there is a substantial gap between the two salary figures. (An MLB executive who shall remain nameless once told me that he believes the arbitrators just flip a coin).


The Cubs presently have 37 players on their MLB Reserve List (40-man roster), and only seven are signed for 2012. That means 30 players must be listed on the Cubs CTL.


ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE:
Jeff Baker, IF-OF
Blake DeWitt, IF-OF
Koyie Hill, C
Matt Garza, RHSP
Geovany Soto, C
Ian Stewart, 3B
Randy Wells, RHSP

AUTO RENEWAL:
Darwin Barney, INF
Jeff Beliveau, LHRP
Jeff Bianchi, INF
Alberto Cabrera, RHSP
Tony Campana, OF
Chris Carpenter, RHRP
Andrew Cashner, RHRP
Lendy Castillo, RHRP
Welington Castillo, C
Starlin Castro, SS
Steve Clevenger, C-1B
Casey Coleman, RHSP
Rafael Dolis, RHRP
John Gaub, LHRP
Bryan LaHair, 1B-OF
Junior Lake, INF
Scott Maine, LHRP
Marcos Mateo, RHRP
James Russell, LHRP
Jeff Samardzija, RHRP
Matt Szczur, OF
Josh Vitters, 3B-1B
Casey Weathers, RHRP


So which of the 30 unsigned Cubs players are most-likely to be non-tendered today?


Right off the bat, we can be sure that Lendy Castillo WILL be tendered, because any player selected in the Rule 5 Draft cannot be non-tendered.


Among the unsigned players who are eligible for salary arbitration, Koyie Hill would seem to be a virtual lock to get non-tendered, and Blake DeWitt is a possibility, too.


Having made $2.2M+ in 2011 as a "Super Two" and being eligible for salary arbitration once again after an atrocious season that saw him get demoted to AAA, Ian Stewart would normally have been a good candidate to get non-tendered, just so he could have had his salary cut by more the maximum-allowable 20%. The Cubs almost certainly won't non-tender Stewart three days after acquiring him in a trade, but they really should have waited a while longer to pull the trigger on a deal that might not even have been necessary, since it's possible that the Rockies might have non-tendered him themselves.


See, one good thing about non-tendering a player is that the club can re-sign the player to a contract without regard to the maximum-allowable 20% pay cut that applies to a player who is tendered a contract. Another advantage of a non-tender is that a player can be removed from a 40-man roster without exposing the player to Outright Assignment Waivers (which are irrevocable) or an Outright Release (a player who is given his Outright Release between September 1st and MLB Opening Day cannot be added back to the same club's 40-man roster and 25-man roster until May 15th).


One GM trick is to non-tender a veteran player who is eligible for salary arbitration, and then re-sign him to a pre-arranged Major League contract with more than the maximum-allowable salary-cut, or (better still) sign him to a minor league contract (with a Non-Roster Invitation to Spring Training, of course), with perhaps an opt-out clause if the player doesn't make the MLB Opening Day 25-man roster.


The former means the player remains on the 40-man roster but without the club having to worry about arbitration or maximum salary-reduction limits, while the latter (which is a REALLY good deal for the club) removes the player from the MLB 40-man roster (creating roster space for free-agents or players acquired in a trade or via waiver claim later in the off-season), allows the club to cut the player's salary more than the maximum-allowable 20%, and permits the player to compete for a job on the MLB 25-man roster in Spring Training without the club having to worry about eventually releasing a player who might be entitled to a sizable severance if signed to a MajorLeague contract. Not every player (or agent) will go for this, but some do, and it's worth considering if you want to try and save some money and/or create additional space on the 40-man roster during the off-season.


Another type of player who could be non-tendered and then immediately re-signed to a minor league contract (even for the same money he would have made if he was tendered) with an NRI to Spring Training is an "auto-renewal" player who is out of minor league options, and where the club believes it might need to send him to the minors if there isn't room for him on the Opening Day MLB 25-man roster, but the club would prefer to not have to risk losing him off Outright Waivers (since he is out of options).


Both Marcos Mateo and Bryan LaHair fit this profile to a "T" (that is, player has some value to the team but there might not be room for him on the Opening Day 25-man roster, player is out of minor league options, and signed to a minor league contract, the player would not have to pass through Outright Waivers if he doesn't make the Opening Day 25-man roster and the Cubs want to send him to AAA Iowa).


Again, you non-tender Mateo and LaHair ONLY if an agreement is in place where the player agrees in advance to sign a minor league contract (which could be for "big league money"--that is, maybe $480K with an $80K minor league split) plus an NRI to Spring Training (and perhaps an opt-out clause for LaHair if he does end up in Iowa and has an opportunity to maybe play in Japan).


Otherwise, you can leave them on the 40-man roster, and then trade one or both at the end of Spring Training if one or the other doesn't make the Opening Day 25-man roster and you don't want to risk losing the player(s) off Outright Waivers. But a non-tender and then a quick pre-arranged re-sign to a minor league contract (with an NRI to Spring Training) would be ideal.

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Comments

Thanks for the detailed explanations, AZ. I'll probably only remember a line or two in a month from now, but it's great info.

I'm not really following the logic on non-tendering LaHair, although you don't seem to be recommending it as much as saying he is a typical candidate. LaHair is either gonna make it this year in the bigs or, probably, never, it seems. I would think, and hope for his sake, that if the Cubs sign Prince Fielder or some other first baseman, they'd either let LaHair take a shot at some outfield play (Rob G suggested platooning with Soriano, which seems reasonable) or they'd cut him loose and let him try to catch on somewhere else.

Az Phil----How did you learn all this stuff? I am in awe!!!!

As always, AZP, thanks for the great, detailed refresher on these transaction rules.

The Cubs almost certainly won't non-tender Stewart three days after acquiring him in a trade, but they really should have waited a while longer to pull the trigger on a deal that might not even have been necessary, since it's possible that the Rockies might have non-tendered him themselves.

It seems to me that pros like Epstein and Hoyer are bright enough to gather assurances that Stewart was going to be tendered a contract. But let me ask hypothetically, were Stewart non-tendered, he becomes a free agent and can sign anywhere, correct?

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 9:43am — Stevens

As always, AZP, thanks for the great, detailed refresher on these transaction rules.

It seems to me that pros like Epstein and Hoyer are bright enough to gather assurances that Stewart was going to be tendered a contract. But let me ask hypothetically, were Stewart non-tendered, he becomes a free agent and can sign anywhere, correct?

================================

STEVENS: If Ian Stewart were to be non-tendered, he can sign with any club and his former club gets no compensation.

While a club cannot force a non-tendered player to re-sign, nothing prevents a club from non-tendering a player and then re-signing him to a non-guaranteed Major League contract with more than a 20% pay cut, or to a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training (again, as long as the player agrees to the contract).

Despite what Rockies GM Dan O'Dowd might have told the press (ever hear the term "disinformation"?), there is no way to be sure in advance whether the Rockies would have tendered Stewart a contract on 12/12. The only way to have known for sure would have been to wait and find out what they do. It was foolish to trade for him before then.

The problem with tendering Ian Stewart (and the reason the Rockies would have had a good reason not to tender him) is that the maximum pay cut he can get if he is tendered is 20%. If he is non-tendered, you can re-sign him and cut him more than 20%.

So because he made $2.2M+ in 2011, he can make no less than $1.75M in 2012 if he is tendered, and that's only if it goes to arbitration and the club wins (which is not predicatable) . He could make $2.5M (or maybe more) if the arbitration panel rules in favor of the player, depending on what salary the player submits.

Stewart is the type of player you see every year who gets non-tendered and then signs a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training.

While Epstein & Hoyer might be bright guys, I'll bet you they do make mistakes, and they might even get fooled every now & then.

We paid over a million for Doug Davis and Koyie Hill apiece last year. I have no problem rolling the dice on Ian Stewart at 1.75 this year. Heck that's Chris Huseby money.

Thanks AZP!

While disinformation and gamesmanship is certainly possible, so are many other things, including GMs wanting to preserve relationships between their peers through fair & honest dealings. Though I hear your point about waiting, and it's a good one, there may be other information we're not seeing.

And yes, of course Epstein & Hoyer will make mistakes. (Lackey and Crawford jump to mind for Theo.) Given their general track records, especially with bringing up young talent, I'm willing to give them a long leash before I agree any of these early moves are poorly considered.

AZ PHIL

The Rockies announced in November that they would tender Stewart a contract

// 11/16/2011
O'Dowd told The Post that he will tender third baseman Ian Stewart a contract. Stewart suffered through a miserable season, going homerless while dealing with multiple injuries and minor-league demotions. While the Rockies plan to tender Stewart, it's not certain they will keep him. Multiple teams have inquired about trading for the one-time top prospect.

Read more: Renck: Rockies need Jhoulys Chacin's mechanics back in form - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/renck/ci_19345131#i...
//

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 10:15am — navigator

AZ PHIL

The Rockies announced in November that they would tender Stewart a contract

// 11/16/2011
O'Dowd told The Post that he will tender third baseman Ian Stewart a contract. Stewart suffered through a miserable season, going homerless while dealing with multiple injuries and minor-league demotions. While the Rockies plan to tender Stewart, it's not certain they will keep him. Multiple teams have inquired about trading for the one-time top prospect.

============================

NAVI: If I was GM of the Rockies and planned to non-tender Ian Stewart, I would have announced (publically & loudly) in November that I planned to tender Stewart, so all you schmart guy GMs out there who thought you could get him just by waiting until 12/12 better pony up with players, because the only way you're going to get him is by a trade.

And then if I didn't get any trade offers, I'd change my plans and non-tender him on 12/12.

Having just read every news article I could pull up on Stewart back to 2007, I most definitely agree with you. The Rockies were totally exasperated with him --- sent him down three or four times last year. On and off the DL. Changed his entire plate approach, from how he held his hands, to how far he was from the plate, to getting on his case for being "too selective" and not aggressive enough. The Rockies were probably done with him if no one would trade for him.

Levine- Aram to Brewers three years

Wow! 3 years...

Hopefully, he will find a way to be on the DL enough per his usual pattern, that it won't have much effect on things.

Theo strikes again, and he hasn't even signed anyone yet (other than the small trades/Rule 5 stuff).

With a division title suddenly in play in 2012, Rickass needs to toss the budget, open his wallet and sign Fielder or consign himself to the dustbin of idiot owners.

From the FWIW Files:

The Cubs are definitely in the mix for Fielder, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. He adds that the Mariners are trying and the Blue Jays and Rangers are "among teams showing interest and thinking hard about it."

http://twitter.com/JonHeymanCBS/status/146272...

http://mlb.sbnation.com/2011/12/12/2630619/ar...

"Aramis has been one of the more consistent left-handed hitters in baseball" ?!

Let's see, he's not consistent, and he's not a left-handed hitter, but I do believe he plays baseball.

If the Cubs pick up a hitter with an OPS of .900+ consistently over the next 6 years (Aramis 2004-2009, and yes, I do include .898 there) I'll be pretty happy.

In my mind, they are saying bye-bye at just the right time.

Hey, one out of three is widely accepted as pretty good in baseball...

The post has been corrected.

So I guess I'm the only who's not looking forward to Aramis killing the Cubs the next three years.

Would Aramis, Pena and Gonzalez's defense be better than Mcgahee, Fielder and Betancourt for Brewers or at least equal?

ROB G: If they use a knife, we use an UZI, baby!

Look for a Cubs FIELDER signing.

....Cubs sign Dutch pitcher Hans Fielder to a minor league deal....lol.

Haha

Yes. Of course. Next question.

Replacing McGeehee and Betancourt with Aramis and Gonzalez in the lineup will probably help offset the loss of Fielder as well.

mcG makes Aram look like a gold glover, too.

collect em all (Fielders that is)

Good info on trying to sign Cuban OF Soler from BA

http://t.co/s9G1fqM9

3/36 on aram...not a bad deal if the guy can keep hitting 25+ homers a year with decent ob%...and of course, staying healthy + 3rd defense relevant is important, too...well, i guess they have flexibility at 1st as of now.

This is a great move for Aramis Ramirez. Playing in a domed stadium should help him in April and help him stay healthy in general. No playing on wet slippery fields in 40 degree weather. No Hawk ripping in from left field. I'll be surprised if he doesn't hit 30+ home runs next year.

bluejays moved 2 guys off their 40-man and no cooresponding waiver pickup...gio gonzalez to TOR might get done pretty soon.

-edit-

nevermind...they made earlier moves, too...including another drop + 2 adds (1 waiver claim, 1 trade [picked up b.francisco from PHI]).

so what does the iowa IF look like in 2012? especially since they just lost their 2nd, SS, and 3rd.

marquis smith is a natural to slide into 3rd unless he ends up on the MLB bench (mistake not to give him AAA everyday time in 2012, imo)...SS or 2nd belongs to junior lake at this point, i'd imagine...no idea about the other 2nd/SS slot.

oh yeah...all this can be shitcanned into a clusterfuck depending on who goes to BOS and SD...keep forgetting about that...they need to settle that out, already. it was supposedly the most important thing ever to the commish pre-rule 5 and pre-winter meetings, but i haven't heard much since.

Josh Vitters at 3rd? 1B? LF? Have to imagine Rebel Ridling is in the running for the 1B/LF job as well.

I wouldn't be shocked to see Logan Watkins bumped to AA and maybe make it to AAA at some point in 2012, and he looks like a 2B at this point, though he can play SS.

Aside from that, there is always an Andres Blanco, Esteban German, or Bobby Scales lurking.

Andres Blanco ship sailed already. To the World Series. haha!

He was not good enough, apparently, for Hendry (and as I recall - I don't think our ubiquitous AZ PHIL liked his tool-set either) and had a career year for the Giants.

I believe that is Andres Torres you're thinking of.

Andres Blanco went to the WS with the rangers (actually, I have no idea if he was still on the roster or the series or not). Andres Torres also spent time on the Iowa Cubs roster, though, before ending up with the Giants eventually.

vitters could slot in at 3rd if the cubs decide to non-tender dewitt or baker...m.smith is mlb-bench ready as he'll ever be at 3rd/2nd...i'd rather see him stick around getting regular AAA ab's myself...mostly because i don't trust the guy who's supposedly going to get 500+abs (barring massive, unignorable, fail) for the pro club.

Per Hoy-Stein's mandates, they will not bring up a player such as Vitters, until basically they are setting AAA on fire.

Don't count on this for 2012.

yeah, i mean slot in at 3rd in iowa...if m.smith is brought up (or moved to 2nd out of necessity in AAA).

Since it is likely that we will not be competitive in 2012, there is little reason to start the arbitration clock any sooner then you are compelled to.

How are the Cubs going to avoid being competitive in the NL Central next year? They have a braintrust and a pile of money. The Cards and Brewers are in trouble. Not being competitive next year would be inexcusable.

I don't care about competing for the NL Central title I want to win the World Series.

While the Cubs might end up being the tallest midget in the NL Central, which gets them a lottery ticket in the crap shoot that is the playoffs, it certainly should not be something that greatly impacts how you run your team.

While I agree with you that I want the Cubs to eventually become a perennial World Series contender, being the tallest midget in the NL Central is still a good thing. Heck, the Cardinals were the second tallest midget in the division last year and look what it got them.

There's no reason at all that the Cubs can't be competitive in 2012. Of course, that assumes that JedStein gets busy and builds a respectable team.

Not sure Vitters has shown the bat to be a major leaguer thus far. Figure he's a 2012 DFA Rule 5 candidate if he doesn't show something this year. Arbitration clock should be the least of his concerns.

this whole thing came off a comment from me not being clear that i was talking vitters slotting in at AAA and m.smith being the guy moving to the bigs to work bench.

i don't think anyone is expecting to see vitters come up to the bigs in early 2012 (if at all), especially with an early commitment to ian stewart for full time ab's and vitters still being pretty young...and in heavy need of work on his D.

I misunderstood you Crunch.

the way i puke out comments it's not clear all the time...i can see how it could get mixed up.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 3:35pm — crunch

so what does the iowa IF look like in 2012? especially since they just lost their 2nd, SS, and 3rd.

===========================

CRUNCH: It depends on who the Cubs might add during the off-seson, but AS OF RIGHT NOW, if Garza, Dempster, Zambrano, Wells, and Coleman are the starting pitchers, and Marmol, Marshall, Samardzija, Russell, Cashner, Gaub, and Carpenter is the bullpen, Clevenger, Soto and K. Hill are the catchers, LaHair, Barney, Castro, Stewart, Baker, and DeWitt are the infielders, and Soriano, Byrd, DeJesus, and Campana are the outfielders, right now I would say the Iowa Opening Day roster could look like this (subject to change if minor league free-agents are signed):

STARTING PITCHERS: Alberto Cabrera, Jay Jackson, Trey McNutt, Brooks Raley, Chris Rusin, and Nick Struck (one goes to AA)

BULLPEN: Rafael Dolis, Scott Maine, Blake Parker, Kevin Rhoderick, Jeff Beliveau, Casey Weathers, and either Hung-Wen Chen or Marco Carrillo

CATCHERS: Welington Castillo and Blake Lalli (C-1B)

INFIELDERS: Jeff Bianchi (SS-2B), Jonathon Mota (SS-2B-3B), Rebel Ridling (1B-LF), Nate Samson (2B-SS-3B-LF-RF), Marquez Smith (3B-2B), and Josh Vitters (1B-3B-LF-RF)

OUTFIELDERS: Jim Adduci, Brett Jackson, Nelson Perez, and Ty Wright

...and of course, staying healthy.

Man, based on his track record - I just don't see it.

I mean, the Brew could get lucky, but his age and DL/nagging injury history suggests not.

prince fielder linked to 6 teams according to rosenthal on mlb network...cubs named and heavily pushed on tonight's piece.

even though he's a 1st baseman...he's an elite one...and 27 years old. i wouldn't even be upset about an 8 year deal, myself...anything less i'd consider awesome. 4-6 years would be just awesome...but with 6 teams looking....could be another 10 year deal for someone.

DH in NL will make a 8 year deal work.

The state of the Cubs is depressing. This feels like the early 90s all over again. Are we in for another decade of malaise and wheel-spinning?

If your corner IFs are Ian Stewart and Bryan LaHair, your corner OFs are Alfonso Soriano and David DeJesus, and your second-best starting pitcher is Ryan Dempster, well.....it's gonna be a LOOOONG year I'm afraid.

If the season started tomorrow, then yes, totally fucked. But it doesn't, so relax.

That's how I felt last year, but I'm holding out a little hope with Hendry gone and the new guys only in place for a few months so far. If you really want to get depressed, read about the Bears.

The Bears' D has been fine, but the injuries show how completely reliant the marginal-in-the-first-place offense is/was on Forte and Cutler. Without them, the team is screwed, and obviously this season is a lost cause.

That's what scares me about the Hawks, too. As good as they've played for the most part, the team has become completely reliant on the admittedly-awesome play of Panda, Sharp, and Daydream Nation. If something happened to just one of those 4 forwards, much less two of them......yikes.

Jesus HICKMAN, the Winter Meetings ended last Thursday.

Hang in there.

As I have said several times, NO WAY would HoyStein have taken these gigs just to spin wheels.

These are smart motherfuckers who need to learn alot as quickly as possible.

INCUDING assessing the playing conditions and the type of player that best fits Wrigley - and, as Capt. Kirk said, "Go where no man has gone before."

Welcome to rock bottom!

We knew this day would come.

Let's let the new guys get more then 30 days into this shit sandwich and see what direction we are going.

They are building from the scorched earth of Jim Hendry and the other idiot behind him McFail.

Deep breaths everyone.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 7:15pm — jacos
Welcome to rock bottom!

We knew this day would come.

Let's let the new guys get more then 30 days into this shit sandwich and see what direction we are going.

They are building from the scorched earth of Jim Hendry and the other idiot behind him McFail.

Deep breaths everyone.

===========================

JACOS: I think it's OK to make comments and offer opinions (including negative comments and negative opinions when warranted) about what any Cubs regime has done, is doing, or woulda/shoulda/coulda do, including Epstein-Hoyer.

I agree, didn't mean to come across as this how everyone should think.

The great different of opinions makes this a great site, especially when the cheap shots and name calling are no longer around.

Agreed. I also suspect that the trend from bashing the GM who's been around to announcing the new GM a genius until proven otherwise is part of the same movement in opinion that has to do with unreasonable expectations. I suspect that what sets these guys apart from the rest of us isn't some magic eye for spotting talent or making only the best deals, but instead it is probably a much great degree of involvement, much more scouting info, access to a lot of really smart stat people, and a strong worth ethic coupled with a good deal of experience. They'll all make plenty of mistakes.

That said, it'd be nice if HoyStein doesn't make a Soriano-level mistake (or makes a number of other great moves to balance out such a mistake) and if they don't mismanage the roster consistently the way that Hendry seemed to. I have never been able to figure out why a GM with a bunch of people working under him couldn't be a little better at managing the 40-man.

BruceMiles2112 Bruce Miles
#Cubs appear ready to burn midnight oil deciding whether to tender Koyie Hill a contract.

this one should be a make/break 2012 championship decision.

hahaha!!

lmao!

Seems like baseball people just love this guy. And don't care about the lack of hitting, even a little bit. I really could actually see having a catcher your pitchers love, I suppose, if you had a lot of monsters in your lineup. But sheeesh, this is, at least as it stands now, a really weak hitting lineup that really can't give away both the 8 and 9 spots.

Especially if the guy were actually a good defensive catcher.

Why can't they just bring Clevenger up and tell everybody (including both the press and the pitchers) that he is a great defender and an incredible game caller, then order him to be nice to everyone and say aw shucks or he gets shitcanned?

What has Hill ever done to show he's a good catcher except not hit a lick? Everyone just assumes he must be good at something. That's my guess. And he probably believes he's very good at calling games and handling pitchers, which probably really sells it to the pitchers. If every catcher walked around thinking that was true of themselves, pitchers would probably like throwing to almost all of them.

As AZ PHIL has mentioned when I as well was wondering what the KHill deal is all about: the pitchers have a trememdous affinity for his game-calling skills, and this filtered down to the Hendry.

Since the new Sheriffs don't know about the KHill love, and since they can look at his mutiple passed-ball, error-strewn, and wild-attempts at CS games, combined with his Mendoza-like hitting - I think they'll be able to hit the hay early tonight.

@to the latest muskat tweet above, have tendered contracts to arb eligibles Baker, DeWitt, Garza, Soto, Stewart, Wells, but not Hill -- I'm not sure if that means he's out yet or not.

There are bigger concerns as far as I'm concerned, but I agree they can do better than K Hill

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 8:32pm — Old and Blue

@to the latest muskat tweet above, have tendered contracts to arb eligibles Baker, DeWitt, Garza, Soto, Stewart, Wells, but not Hill -- I'm not sure if that means he's out yet or not.

There are bigger concerns as far as I'm concerned, but I agree they can do better than K Hill

==================================

O&B: Even though he was non-tendered, Koyie Hill might not be gone.

Clubs can re-sign non-tendered players (including their own) to Major League or minor league contracts, and if it's a Major League contract they don't have to worry about the 20% max salary cut rule.

So it really wouldn't surprise me at all if the Cubs re-sign K. Hill to a minor league contract with an NRI to Spring Training, perhaps a $150K minor league salary (maybe upgraded to $600K if he makes the Cubs Opening Day MLB 25-man roster), and an opt-out if he doesn't make the Cubs Opening Day roster.

Hill is well-respected within the Cubs organization (or at least he was), and Oneri Fleita might give him the opportunity to be a player-coach at Iowa, with a possible future as a minor league manager or instructor (as happened with veteran catcher Mark Johnson, who was a player-coach at Iowa in 2009 & 2010 before becoming the manager at Instructs post-2010 and EXST and Boise in 2011).

Time to make room on the bench for Clevenger or one of the non-tendered catchers around baseball who bring more to the tabel than does Koyie Hill (Jason Jaramillo or somebody of the like, though my preference is to go with Clevenger and be ready to call up Castillo if necessary).

Thanks, AZ...yeah, that's why I mentioned I didn't know if he was really gone yet -- you explained the process well in your post. I mentioned in another comment that baseball people really seem to love the guy. He literally can't hit, as in, really can't hit -- he's like me, just mystified about the process and unable to find a way to make solid wood on the ball in nearly any circumstance, yet baseball people really seem to love the guy.

Koyie put up numbers that would be OK for a defense oriented backup in the minors, including showing a little pop. The OPS drop off in the majors was extremely steep for him, though, almost around a .180 difference. It's possible that he hit better in the minors because he got more plate appearance, but he certainly never hit well enough to justify getting more plate appearance at the major league level. He just doesn't have the skills to be an adequate MLB player in any role. I wish him luck with his coaching career.

But the problem with Hill is that he isn't even "defense oriented.". A backup catcher that can't hit or play defense has no place on a major league roster.

Who calls the pitches, indicates the location, etc.? I forget.

A while ago I ranked catchers on fewest passed balls and wild pitches (often preventable by the catcher) and Hill was near the top, behind Ruiz, Soto, Torrealba and Y. Molina but ahead of Mauer, Martin, Posey, Paulina, Blanco.

But Hill is obviously Hendry's bastard son, so that mojo doesn't work any more.

Dbacks non-tendered Joe Saunders

supposedly the Braves won't release their list of NT's until tomorrow AM even though it's got to be in by midnight.

Mrs Pujols wants everyone to know that God works in mysterious ways and that her husband is not a greedy bastard-
http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7346376/alb...

Tweet box has the link, but all tendered except Koyie Hill.

McGehee to pirates for Jose Vera.

There is a God!

Just not a very good one.

That's not what Tim Tebow says.

Holy Shit!
TRN got banned!! FINALLY!!!
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
Thanks, Rob!

Wow. Where you been?

Totally 3/44 by now.

Was in the NY Times. ;)

Well, our long national nightmare of The Koyie Hill Experience is over, so that's something to smile about I guess.....I wonder if Clevenger isn't the likely backup catcher now, and Jedstein has the ability to use either Soto or Castillo as a trade chip in the coming weeks.

Soto/Castillo, Byrd and Marmol, you ought to be able to get something decent for that, right? Those would seem to be the Cubs' three most likely trading chips.

AZ PHIL: Should HoyStein decide to trade Marmol, what of the current prospects do you believe would be the best candidates to be an effective closer over time. Cashner? Carpenter? Jokisch? McNutt? Another?

Thanks.

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 8:58pm — The E-Man

AZ PHIL: Should HoyStein decide to trade Marmol, what of the current prospects do you believe would be the best candidates to be an effective closer over time. Cashner? Carpenter? Jokisch? McNutt? Another?

Thanks.

===============================

E-MAN: Although I believe constructing a quality bullpen is EXTREMELY important, I also am not a fan of spending a lot of money on relief pitchers (especially veteran middle-relievers and LOOGYs).

I think it's very possible to build (or re-build) a quality MLB bullpen every year by considering every pitcher or pitching prospect in the organization (even potential starters like Cashner and McNutt), together with signing about a half-dozen guys with MLB bullpen experience (including pitchers coming back from injuries or ones hoping to bounce-back from a poor season) to minor league contracts with an NRI to Spring Training.

So what would happen if Carlos Marmol is traded?

I think Andrew Cashner would be the #1 candidate to take his place. He was the #1 closer in college baseball at TCU in 2008, so he has the stomach to close and knows how to prepare himself physically and mentally for that job. His high 90's gas & hard-breaking slider combo works well in short-relief, and his improved change-up (a pitch he did not throw in college) should make him effective against the tougher LH hitters.

Cashner has the array of stuff to be a rotation starter, and ideally he will be a starter eventually. But I think he will very-likely be in the bullpen in 2012, until it can be determined if his shoulder is OK long-term. I know some in the Cubs organization suspected his shoulder issues last year stemmed from being used as a starter (the wear & tear associated with throwing too many innings).

Chris Carpenter was hitting 100 MPH consistently in the AFL, and was the second-most dominating reliever in the AFL (behind only CIN RHRP Brad Boxberger). But Carp just moved to the bullpen last year and doesn't have any experience as a closer, so if he does make the Cubs Opening Day roster (and I think he has a good chance to do so) he probably would be used as a RH middle-reliever or 7th inning guy at first.

Although he may be given an opportunity to be a starter next season, I don't thnk Jeff Samardzija should be totally written off as a closer. Personally I think he is an ideal two-inning middle-reliever or 7th inning guy, but he did show a lot of improvement last year and could be at the point in his development where he may be ready to slot into a more-important bullpen role in 2012 (probably RH set-up man).

So I would not be opposed to trading Carlos Marmol if the Cubs could acquire a young starting pitcher and/or a middle-of-the-order bat in the deal. He is signed through 2013, so if he is traded, his new team gets to keep him for at least two seasons (he would not be just a one-year "rent-a-player").

I think the Cubs bullpen could be very good in 2012, even without Marmol. The Cubs have five lefies to choose from (Sean Marshall, James Russell, John Gaub, Scott Maine, and Jeff Beliveau), and I can't remember that ever being the case in the past.

Marshall is probably THE best LH set-up guy in baseball, Russell was very effective once he was moved back to the bullpen, Gaub has just nasty stuff (when he can get it over the plate), Maine had one of the highest K/IP rates in minor league baseball last year (and he needs to throw strikes more-consistently, too), and Beliveau has a plus-breaking ball and a low 90's fastball with lots of movement.

As you may recall, I have advocated moving Marshall to the starting rotation in 2012, partly because he has experience as a starter and the Cubs could use a lefty in the rotation, partly because he is going to be a FA after next seson and probably would not sign a contract extention without first being given a chance to see if he can be an MLB starter (free-agent LH starters typically make about 50% more money than FA LH relievers), and partly because the Cubs have four other decent lefty candidates to take his place.

BTW, I am not one of those who believe the Cubs should write-off 2012. I don't see the project as a "rebuild" at all. I may be a long-suffering Cub fan, but I ain't no stinkin' small market defeatist. The Cubs should NEVER write-off a season.

If the Cubs sign Yu Darvish and don't trade Matt Garza, and if they can sign Prince Fielder, there is no reason why they cannot contend for the N. L. Central championship in 2012 and beyond. They won't have to face Pujols anymore, and they will have stolen a big bat from another division rival.

As for how the Cubs can pay for Darvish & Fielder, a lot people kept saying how the Cubs had a lot of payroll coming off the books after this past season (2011), but they really didn't. In fact, if Aramis Ramirez had accepted the Cubs arbitration offer, the Cubs 2012 payroll would be at about $126M right now (same as last year).

It's NEXT off-season when all the payroll comes off, about $50M--ALMOST HALF THEIR PRESENT 2012 PAYROLL (Zambrano, Dempster, Byrd, and Marshall, plus not having to pay Pena $5M in deferred money, or Silva's $2M 2012 buy-out).

The Cubs saved themselves $16M in 2012 payroll when Ramirez declined arbitration, so if the payroll budget is at $130M again, Epstein-Hoyer have about $20M in 2012 payroll to spend on new acquisitions.

So as long as the Cubs can sign Darvish and Fielder to back-loaded contracts that pay them the really big bucks starting in 2013 (when $50M in payroll comes off the books), it can be done.

The thing is, you can build an MLB team to win over 162 games in the regular season, but unfortunately you really don't have much control over what happens in the post-season. The key is to get into the playoffs. Once you're there, unlike any other major sport, it's not the best team that wins, it's all about match-ups and who's hot, mixed with some dumb luck.

One other thing I hope the new regime does is work the new draft rules and international bonus rules this way:

Every other year go crazy and pay over-slot bonuses to HS players selected in lower rounds or draft & sign players considered "unsignable" (like the Cubs did this past season), give Bud the finger, pay the tax, lose the #1 and #2 picks in the next year's draft, smoke a cigar, and then do the same thing again two years later. Just splurge every-other year, and then select a bunch of college pitchers with Top 10 round picks in the "off" years when you don't have your #1 and #2 draft picks.

And then in the opposite years, go crazy and splurge big for international players, pay the tax, tell the Commish where to go, and then essentially sit-out the next season when you'll be penalized & won't be able to sign any international FA for more than a $500K bonus.

If the Cubs do this, they will have one of the top farm systems in baseball year-after-year.

ninja may be overpaid, but he's a workhorse...not pretty all the time, but he can go multiple times a week without issue and pull 2-3ip long relief duty. unless the cubs bats start show better than expected rbi-producing power and/or ob% they're going to need long relief for more than just blowouts.

I like your plan, AZPhil, especially the part about giving Bud the finger!

Phil, you just might be the best Assistant GM/GM not working in MLB.

So. I'm going on record saying that I like the Stewart trade from a "do-I-like-the-new-The-Jed-management-team" perspective. I legitimately think Ian Stewart will be, as someone put it, "Mark Reynolds with more defensive chops." (I think that was fangraphs, it was one of Rob's links). (Also, eff Mark Reynolds and his strikeouts, but hey, beggars can't be choosers...). He'll be gritty enough to keep disgruntled Theriot fans happy, I think he'll hit 25 or so bombs, with, say, 75 RBIs, and supposedly play 3B at least worth-a-shit, which is better than the team has had on the defensive side of the ball. He also better become Rudy Jaramillo's new best friend, if either of them know what's good for them.

Does it suck that LeMayhew had to be thrown in? Sure. But I think Stewart will be a little more serviceable at the hot corner than we're collectively giving him credit for. And we turned Colvin into something, which I don't think he was ever going to do himself, at least not with the Cubs.

Is Stewart a $2m or so upgrade over LeMay at 3B? With a ~$130m payroll, who gives a shit (not me). Figure worst-case, you're trading average for power and getting a little better defensively, which the Cubs (I think everyone can agree) desperately need.

Should they have waited for COL to non-tender him? Probably, but there's always the chance then that f'ng Baltimore, Boston, fill in the blank comes along and thinks he's worth $3-4-5m when he's obviously not, and overpays to do the same thing COL did last year which is bounce him back and forth. Ultimately, I think Stewart was worth a little more to the Cubs than he would be to many teams, but f it, supply and demand, it is what it is.

End of the day, the guy was a top 10 draft pick (for whatever that's worth), and I'm kind of excited to see what he does with the opportunity. Plus he sounds like kind of an asshole, which could play well in the clubhouse... Or something...

I believe in what The Jed talks about WRT acquiring pieces. I think Stewart has the potential to be a decent 'piece'. What I'm really curious to see is what kind of 'pieces' they get to fill 1B (if it's not just LaHair) and the starting rotation........

to me ian stewart is a guy who's glove (though not great) is worth giving a shot vs. what's in the cubs system and what was on the FA market not named aram. i don't mind what was given up or the 2m-ish he'll be paid.

i just think it's a doomed experiment and i will be thrilled if he's a .330 ob% 20+hr guy. i don't expect it, though...for reasons i probably shouldn't repeat. =p his golf-club-through-the-zone swing, inside pitching blindness, never met an outside pitch he didn't want to swing at tendencies...etc etc etc.

also, given how thin 3rd is this year vs. the need...i personally don't think stewart would have made it long enough to get non-tendered. given what's expected out of stewart from the cubs they didn't give up much...and though i'm not a fan, it's not awesome losing LeM.

Agree, and as for the swing and pitch selection... Paging Dr. Jaramillo. (isn't shit like this exactly why we hired him? Supposedly guys like Michael Young wouldn't know which end of the bat to use if it weren't for him, right??)

Also, it took a little wind out of my sails to see my WAG predictions were his career high in HRs and +5 for his career high in RBIs.

Maybe 20/65 would be a little more accurate.

Still, I think I like the guy. Should be at least semi-fun to watch. And I don't anticipate a whole hell of a lot in the way of wins unless the rotation gets beefed up at some point, so Stewart is probably really something for my dumb-blind-fan-ass to grasp at. But whatever.

I'll say more like Mark Bellhorn minus some contact than Mark Reynolds minus some HR, with the same "defense worth a shit" adendum.

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/7346376/alb...

Wife says they were bummed with the initial 5 year offer Redbirds put on the table.

I remember another marquee player leaving a central division team for similar reasons.

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