Try a Little Tenderness

Today is the day when contracts are tendered to players on MLB Reserve Lists who are unsigned for 2009.

Any player who is "non-tendered" today immediately becomes an unrestricted free-agent, and is free to sign a major league or minor league contract with any MLB club, including the club that non-tendered the player. 

There are two types of unsigned players, so-called "arbitation-eligibles" (players who have accrued at least three years of MLB service time but less than six years, plus a handful of players who have between two and three years of MLB ST who qualify for arbitration as a "Super Two") and so-called "auto-renewals" (players who do not yet qualify for salary arbitration, so that the club can automatically renew the player's contract if an agreement cannot be reached by the first week of March).

"Auto-Renewal" players are almost always tendered contracts. The MLB minimum salary in 2009 will be $400K (up from $390K), and players must be offered at least the MLB minimum salary, and the salary offered must be no less than 80% of the player's 2008 salary.  .

The only time you might see a club non-tender an "auto-renewal" is if the player was injured in winter ball (injured players can't be outrighted after 11/20 or prior to 16 days prior to the start of the next season), or if the player's roster slot is needed to add a free-agent who signs sometime just prior to 12/12, or to clear a roster slot to make room for a player acquired in a trade during the Winter Meetings.

Since the Cubs roster presently stands at 37, there is no reason not to tender contracts to the Cubs 20 auto-renewal guys.

Aribtration-eligible players are a completely different matter, however. A club cannot automatically renew the contract of an arbitration-eligible player. If the player and the club cannot agree on a salary, the player and the club submit a number, and a three-person arbitration panel picks one of the two figures. Since youi never know what the arbitrators are going to do (they base everything on statistics, comparing the player to what other players with similar stats & service time are paid), clubs tend to view a hearing as a "crap shoot," and most GMs usually do not want to take a chance of losing in arbitration.

Jim Hendry has a history of tendering arbitration-eligible players, but he has never gone to arbitration with a player. The normal outcome is that the Cubs and the player will find a middle-ground between the player's request and the club's offer, and so thus a hearing is avoided. Hendry is always more than willing to offer performance bonuses to increase the value of a deal if the player feels the base salary is too low.   .

Arbitration-eligible players cannot be offered a base salary that is less than 80% of the player's previous year's salary, or less than 70% of the player's salary from two seasons ago (but if the player is non-tendered and then is re-signed, the maximum pay cut does NOT apply). So to know the minimum a player can get, you have to know the salary of each arbitration-eligible player from each of the last two seasons .

The Cubs have six players eligible for salary arbitration (2008 salary in parenthesis):

Ronny Cedeno ($407K)

Neal Cotts ($800K)

Chad Gaudin ($1.775M)

Kevin Gregg ($2.5M)

Reed Johnson ($2.07M - combined TOR and CUBS)

Michael Wuertz ($860K)

Reed Johnson made $2.17M in 2008 (a $870K severance when he was released by Toronto at the end of Spring Training and then a $1.3M salary from the Cubs), but he was paid $3.075M in 2007. Therefore, if Johnson is tendered, he cannot be paid less than 70% of his 2007 salary  ($2.07M). So if he is tendered (and he almost certainly will be), I would think the Cubs will offer somewhere around the minimum-allowable $2.1M and Johnson will request something like $3M, with the player and club settling for around $2.5M  And if the Cubs do settle with Johson prior to a hearing, the deal could be maybe $2.25M with up to $500K in incentives related to games played & plate appearances.    

Gregg was a closer for much of 2008 so he should get a bump because of his save numbers. Therefore, the biggest disparity among Cubs aribtration-eligibles will probably be with Kevin Gregg,.The Cubs will likely offer Gregg about $3.5M, and Gregg will probably want about $5.5M, with the player and club perhaps agreeing to a $4.5M pre-hearing figure, although if the Cubs and Gregg do agree prior to getting to arbitration, it will probably involve the Cubs offering a lower base salary ($3.75M) but with maybe $1.5M in incentives related to appearances and games finished. 

Chad Gaudin would probably get a bump up to at least $2.5M if his case were to make it to arbitration, but I would think the Cubs would not want to pay him anywhere near that much (guaranteed). I would bet the Cubs would prefer to offer Gaudin a relatively low base salary (about $1.5M, something close to the maximum allowable 20% cut) plus maybe another $1M in incentives based on appearances and/or games started (should he be moved to the starting rotation at some point). Since it is not clear if Gaudin would accept such a deal, he could get non-tendered, but with the Cubs hoping to re-sign him for less money after he becomes a free-agent (and good luck with that).      

Cedeno, Wuertz, and Cotts are fairly simple to estimate. Whether it goes to arbitration or is settled prior to that, Cedeno will likely get around $750K, and Wuertz and Cotts will probably end up with something like $1.25M, with Wuertz and Cotts both likely to receive up to $250K in incentives.   

Auto-renewal and aribtration-eligible players do not get guaranteed contracts, so they can get released during Spring Training.(as happened with Reed Johnson when he was with the Blue Jays last year)  A player who is released at least 16 days prior to Opening Day receives 1/6 of his 2009 salary (potential incentives not included) as severance, and if a player is released prior to Opening Day but less than 16 days prior to the start of the season, the player gets 1/4 of his salary as severance (potential incentives not included). So even if they are tendered, any or all of the Cubs six arbitration eligible players could get released during Spring Training and the Cubs could save some 2009 payroll that way (should that become necessary or if that is desirable).

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Comments

Nice title, AZ Phil.

Chad Guadin's name is funny in the post there.

Taveras and Saito are the 'big names' rumored to not be tendered according to the various links compiled at mlbtraderumors. Taveras (I am probably spelling that wrong) is a pretty simliar player to Johnson. Trade a little speed and defense for a little hitting skill. Since his batting average is supported so much by bunts and infield hits, I doubt he'd take much of a hit if any if you move him out of Coors.

I think if Guadin wants more than $2.5 million, let him walk.

tav has lingering leg issues keeping him from being trade bait this winter...no takers even out of those who kicked the tires on him in trade talks.

I believe there was a Tim Redding for Tavares deal that just got nixed because Taveres didn't pass the physical...

Where does Jake Peavy fit into all of this?

It looks like the Jake Peavy talks are dead.

Apparently we are going to revisit the Brian Roberts talks.

Then maybe work on trading Sammy Sosa

New post up on Bruce Miles' blog who claims he actually was in Las Vegas

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/1109

BTW, just as a point of information, the 20% maximum pay cut for arbitration-eligible players does NOT apply to Article XX free-agents who are offered and accept salary arbitration. The club can offer the FA any amount, regardless of what the player was paid the previous season, as long as it is at least the MLB minimum salary.

with no Peavy on the budget, I see no go reason to let any of those guys go

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/schmuck/200...

as expected, no Felix Pie to O's w/o Peavy coming to the Cubs.

morning funnies from rotoworld...
Manny Ramirez is growing extremely upset about the lack of suitors for his services, so much so that he has told friends he would contemplate retirement if a suitable offer doesn't arrive soon, a person close to the situation told Newsday.
We needed a good laugh at the end of a busy week. We're sure Manny will be receiving a lot of sympathy. To think there aren't dozens of teams willing to pay him $25 million for a one-dimensional 36-year-old known for giving it all only when he feels like it.

might I add, Manny to the Angels would be fantastic...Dodger fans went nuts over Manny here and rightfully so, to see him go to the Angels would be a great way for Arte to screw with McCourt and the Dodger fans.

Rotoworld: The Orioles will not be able to land Cubs outfielder Felix Pie in a stand-alone trade that doesn't involve Jake Peavy.
The O's had dreams of sending Garrett Olson to the Padres and receiving Pie from the Cubs in a three or four-team trade. With talks between the Cubs and Padres falling flat, the Orioles are now out of the mix. Baltimore executives said Thursday that the Cubs won't budge on Pie without Peavy being somehow involved.

Submitted by WISCGRAD on Fri, 12/12/2008 - 12:14pm.

Rotoworld: The Orioles will not be able to land Cubs outfielder Felix Pie in a stand-alone trade that doesn't involve Jake Peavy. The O's had dreams of sending Garrett Olson to the Padres and receiving Pie from the Cubs in a three or four-team trade. With talks between the Cubs and Padres falling flat, the Orioles are now out of the mix. Baltimore executives said Thursday that the Cubs won't budge on Pie without Peavy being somehow involved.

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WISCGRAD: The thing I don't understand about the Cubs unwillingness to trade Felix Pie is that if the Cubs sign Bradley (or Abreu) to play RF, and with Fukedome supposedly the left-handed hitting platoon guy in CF, and with Pie out of minor league options, why wouldn't the Cubs be open to trading Pie, unless Hendry believes the Peavy trade talks aren't dead?

Maybe the Cubs won't trade Pie to Baltimore for Garrett Olson, but unless they are holding onto him until they are able to get Peavy, the Cubs certainly must be thinking about trading Pie somewhere. Otherwise, is Pie going to take the last spot on the bench away from Hoffpauir? Or is Pie going to take Cedeno's slot on the 25, with the Cubs hoping (praying) that Fontenot can play SS if anything happens to Theriot?

I just can't see that happening. Pie would appear to be the odd man out.

To answer your questions: yes.

I also agree completely. I think you have Soriano, Fukudome, Johnson, New RF, Lee, Hoffpauer, DeRosa, Fonentont, Theriot, Cedeno (or other backup IF), Ramirez, Soto, backup catcher. That leaves a 12-man staff. If Pie is on there something else has to give.

I don't like the idea of having Fontenot, Theriot, DeRosa, and Ramirez to cover 3 IF positions. That eliminates double switches, prevents DeRosa from filling-in in RF, and makes it difficult to rest Ramirez.

I can't imagine the Cubs shedding Pie just to make room for Cedeno. I actually expect Cedeno to be non-tendered today.

Cedeno lost me, finally, with his poor fielding in September. He had ten errors, by the way, in winter ball last time I looked. I don't think Lou has much use for him, which is why he keeps talking about trying Fontenot at short.

Lou (or you) doesn't like Cedeno because of his defense, yet Lou (or you) wants Fontenot at short?

Nice.

If Bradley signs with Rays, does Pie go to Marlins for Hermida?

I don't see why the Cubs don't just make a Felix Pie for Garrett Olson trade, even if the Peavy talks have been suspended.

At the very least, even if there isn't room for him in the starting rotation and he gets optioned to Iowa, Olson becomes the Cubs #1 pitching prospect and could be a fall-back option if a starter goes down during the season.

And Olson could be the key to a deadline deal (as happened with Sean Gallagher last year), maybe even eventually for Jake Peavy!

Maybe Johnson's spot is not as safe as we think, or Hendry's got a trade destination for Fukudome in his back pocket.

It's possible that Fukudome spends part of the season in Iowa. I remember Lou's comment after game 2 with the Dodgers: There's not much point in running him out there again.

Yeah, that was a very astute comment by Lou who followed that up by:

1. Running him out there
2. Watching him single off a pitcher who apparently was channeling Walter Johnson for the evening.

with a guy who can get a bat through the zone as fast as pie what's the use in giving up on him now?

he's not polished or 09 ready, but the team seems to be just fine working around it.

"with a guy who can get a bat through the zone as fast as pie what's the use in giving up on him now?"

That's what I've been saying.

Maybe Hendry believes he can get more for Pie and this is just posturing.

maybe the Cubs just don't like Garrett Olson...

My cracked crystal ball says that Bradley will be a Cub by this time next week.

He is simply the best fit for RF of all of the available options, and he offers the added versatility of being a switch-hitter and being able to play all three OF positions if needed.

Since this is THE critical off-season move, Hendry will get it done.

Submitted by crunch on Fri, 12/12/2008 - 12:59pm.

with a guy who can get a bat through the zone as fast as pie what's the use in giving up on him now?

he's not polished or 09 ready, but the team seems to be just fine working around it.

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

CRUNCH: I like Felix Pie as much as anyone, but Pie has to be on the trading block because he is out of minor league options and would appear to be blocked by Kosuke Fukudome. So if the Cubs can get a quality young pitching prospect like Garrett Olson back for Pie, that's a good thing.

An even better alternative would be if Fukudome decides he isn't happy and wants to return to Japan, and the Cubs can convince the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants to acquire Kosuke, even if it means the Cubs would have to pay half his remaining salary. Then there would be room on the 25-man roster for Pie plus $6M in suddenly available 2009 payroll to spend.

That'd be great, but I think Fuki, like most pro athletes, believes he has what it takes.

you mean he's delusional?

Also the fact that Pie has the strike zone judgement of Shawon Dunston negates his bat speed

Also the fact that we've heard various rumors that he's a malcontent and likes to party instead of working on his game.

I have to think most "can't miss" prospects who end up missing, do so more for mental reasons than physical reasons. Sure, he has the tools, but he's a mental midget. Trade him while he still has some sort of value.

speaking of partying...

is it just me or has every peavy story/rumor/quote coming from him the past month or two about all this crap come straight from a bar? ...like many numerous bars.

When you're a Cy Young pitcher, you're allowed to party as much as you want in the offseason. When you're a former hot prospect who strikes out every third time at bat, you're not allowed to party until 2AM the night before a day game.

Before all you journalism majors get all over me about not providing a link, I don't have one, but I remember reading those rumors. Whether or not they're true, I have no idea, but the reasons Pie hasn't succeeded in the majors have nothing to do with his physical talent.

yeah, im not comparing skill or etc...just popped into my head that almost everything from or directly about peavy seems to have leaked out of the bars recently.

Az Phil himself reported this here at TCR last summer>>

But I have heard whispers that he sulked big-time after being optioned to AAA by the Cubs in May, and that part of the reason behind the Cubs decision to option the Pie man to Iowa in the first place was related to his becoming a bit of a "party animal" in Chicago, staying out until all hours of the night and then showing up at the ballpark not necessarily "ready to play" the next day.

As a further tidbit of bizarro information, Pie had what sounded like an argument with someone from the Cubs brass (I couldn't see exactly who it was, but I could probably guess) who was sitting up in the Fitch Park Tower that overlooks the four fields as Pie was walking to the clubhouse after he left the game in the 6th inning.

I didn't understand the complete nature of the "discussion," but I believe it had something to do with Pie expecting to leave town immediately (like "who is driving me to the airport?"), but being told instead that he would be staying in Arizona for at least one more day.

Pie did not look happy, that's for sure.

Your shower shoes have fungus on them. You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. Think classy, you'll be classy. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press'll think you're colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you are a slob.

FWIW Pie hasn't been playing for Licey lately, which is what you would expect if he's on the block.

he missed their most recent game, but he's been playing.

he started the season late and licey's only played a handful of games recently. there was a cancelled game a few games ago and a lot of downtime in early Dec.

Nav's right, he hasn't been playing. He did hit .320 in 50 at bats. I thought he stopped playing about the time that he was mentioned in connection with Peavy.

Jake Fox hasn't been playing either. He went a little cold, and the Licey player-conveyor belt seems to have moved on. Maybe Pie and Fox finished their tour of duty and left the team.

-edit-
for some screwed reason i reposted my initial comment...instead of quoting part of it.
-edit-

pie's been playing, DEC is when things slow down a bit in the dominican leagues...he's not played every game or all over every game, but he's been playing. the team has played 6 games this month (7th tonight).

he may not be 100% healthy (dunno), but he's not MIA or being hidden. you can find out in 30-90 minutes if he's playing tonight.

It's also what you'd expect if he sucks.

Rob Bowen surprisingly given a contract by the A's - most had him being non-tendered.

Clement deal with Blue Jays is complete - minor league with invite

Jason Smith of Rule 5 fame was DFAed and will likely be non-tendered tonight.

Sam Fuld is having a good season in Venezuela (329/446/538). He currently is tied for the VWL lead in triples and walks, is 6th in OBP, tied for 6th in runs scored, is 7th in OPS, 10th in BA, 11th in slugging, and is tied for 11th in doubles, and he passed Josh Kroeger this week in OPS.

Fuld suffered a thumb injury while attempting to make a diving catch in Spring Training (a game I was at, BTW) last March and then made the mistake of trying to "play through it," leading to a poor start at Iowa and a demotion back to AA. But he's apparently healthy now, at least until he suffers some new season-ending injury.

Fuld may be better than we give him credit for. He's certainly better than Pie right now, except that he's not out of options.

In 143 at bats, Fuld has 30 walks, 14 strikeouts. With 10 doubles, 4 triples and 4 home runs, his SLG is .538. He's the best Cub performer in winter ball. (Fox cooled off and Kroeger fell into a prolonged slump--although I guess he's not a Cub anyway.)

A year ago, Fuld had that great AFL season.

Chris Burke just got non-tendered by the D'backs. I wonder if Jimbo tries to pick him up as insurance in case of a Cedeno and/or Derosa trade.

I'd rather have the actor who played Corky on "Life Goes On." Hell, I'd almost rather have Cedeno.

Muskat-love doesn't think anyone will get non-tendered...

http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=2...

Al Yellon:

I'd be perfectly happy if Fukudome became the player he was in Japan (or a reasonable facsimile)

Sure, do you want world peace with that?

You guys are really down on Fukudome. Is it really outside the realm of possibility that he straightens himself out?

I think a lot of us are looking at that swing and thinking it must be the problem, then thinking that there is now way you fix that without Fuki having to rebuild his game.

But dominated in Japan with that swing, so maybe it really isn't the problem. Maybe he had injury issues, or he just went into the ever-mysterious "slump." Maybe he'll come back and be the .280/.380/.400 player many of us expected him to be.

If it's the swing, though, he's cooked. If it's the swing, I have no idea how he succeeded in Japan.

Slower pitchers, less fastballs (or more, in the high 80's range) and no advance scouting. See Matsui, Kaz; it's not that uncommon.

I'd accept that as evidence if someone could show me that Fukudome hit guys with high 80s fastballs well in 2008. As far as I can tell he didn't hit any category of pitchers well after May.

Edit: Granted, they don't use a measure of velocity or "stuff" but instead use Ks and BBs, according to Baseball Reference Fuki posted a .378 OBP and .370 slugging against Power pitchers, a .331 OBP and .373 slugging against Finesse pitchers, a .388 OBP and .404 slugging against guys in between those two categories.

For some reason he lost patience at the plate. It was like he got hit by the Cubs' approach of 2007. He started lunging at stuff outside. It was weird. The first month or so he laid off stuff away, then, as if he had taken a Dunston pill, began to hack away at stuff out of the zone.

Kaz Matsui had an .884 OPS in July of his rookie year and hit .293 .354 .427 last year. What are you talking about?

Lets just hope the Cubs steer clear of Bradley. For Bradley to even be worth anything to an NL team he needs to play the OF and there are serious questions if he can still even play in the OF anymore. Then on top of that he needs to stay healthy while doing it.

It's basically like signing Nomar to a big free agent deal. If a player can't stay healthy when he is younger that isn't going to change as they get older. It is going to get worse as they age.

I would rather have Abreu for more money or take Juan Rivera or Rocco Baldelli on cheaper contracts who have the chance for a high reward.

Baldelli hits right-handed.

http://tinyurl.com/59g9kk

5/82.5 to the Yanks...

that's fucked up.

Not as fucked up as them going after Lowe even if they sign Burnett.

Anyone know the difference in GA and NY state income taxes?

Burnett's probably the FA that I think's most likely to be a disasterous signing for this off-season.

really, is Lowe really another option?

they'll never learn...

honestly, CC and Burnett are pretty good bets to end up hurt imo...at least they got players on the right side of 35 this time.

I read something, I think over at BP that talked about Sabathia becoming really good by cleaning up his mechanics. I guess a team that got good innings out of Wells isn't as worried about the fat issue.

he's good at cleaning out a buffet, too.

hope his knees/back age well.

...and wells wasn't much of a power pitcher though he held up pretty well.

They must've been desperate to replace the position of oft-injured overpaid ex-Marlin starting pitcher.

If I were a Jays fan, I don't know if I'd be mad or laughing.

Well that probably means the Braves enter the Peavy talks again! Damn Yanks...also want Lowe or Sheets! Wow...

I guess everyone will want Marquis then!

Braves made it clear as day they're not talking to the Padres again unless the Padres approach them and are not including Yunel Escobar this time.

think Braves might make a run at Sheets or Oliver Perez....

New post up on the arb-eligible players...

Submitted by MikeC on Fri, 12/12/2008 - 4:12pm.

Lets just hope the Cubs steer clear of Bradley. For Bradley to even be worth anything to an NL team he needs to play the OF and there are serious questions if he can still even play in the OF anymore.

Then on top of that he needs to stay healthy while doing it. It's basically like signing Nomar to a big free agent deal.

If a player can't stay healthy when he is younger that isn't going to change as they get older. It is going to get worse as they age. I would rather have Abreu for more money or take Juan Rivera or Rocco Baldelli on cheaper contracts who have the chance for a high reward.

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

MIKE C: I'm with you on this one. Given a choice between Bradley and Abreu as the Cubs everyday RF, I'd take Abreu no question, even though he's four years older than Bradley.

Abreu runs well, he knows how to stays healthy, he plays 150+ games per year EVERY YEAR (he's an "iron man"), and he doesn't have bad knees.

Bradley is a DH (and a good one) who can play RF in a pinch, but he just can't seem to avoid injuries. And he has creaky knees. He's just too much like Cliff Floyd for my taste.

Abreu is a young 35, while Bradley is an old 31.

The Cubs seem to be more interested in Bradley though, and the rumors I'm hearing have him taking less money than Abreu. Not that the money will make a big difference if Abreu can play 150 games and Bradly can only play 75.

"...but I remember reading those rumors."

I don't believe those were just rumors regarding Pie's late - night activities; you heard them too often if you lived near the ballpark. If I'm not mistaken, there were pics on Deadspin of him with two attractive women on his arm, replete with a bottle of whiskey in the other. Not good.

" would rather have Abreu for more money or take Juan Rivera or Rocco Baldelli on cheaper contracts who have the chance for a high reward."

Doesn't Baldelli's current medical condition preclude him from becoming an everyday player again? He can't even take warm - ups anymore, due to his need to conserve every available unit of energy in his body. While still an amazing comeback last year, I don't see him being able to play the OF on a daily basis at Wrigley.

I'm not mistaken, there were pics on Deadspin of him with two attractive women on his arm, replete with a bottle of whiskey in the other. Not good.

Wait... he had attractive women around him?!?! And drank alcohol?!?! Oh no!!!

You could say the same thing about the vast majority of professional athletes.

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