2018 MLB Contract Tender Day Tomorrow

12/1 UPDATE: The Cubs have tendered 2018 contracts to 27 of the 29 unsigned players on their MLB reserve list (40-man roster).

RHRP Hector Rondon and C-1B-3B Taylor Davis were non-tendered and are now unrestricted free-agents, free to sign a 2018 major league or minor league contract with any club (including the Cubs).

Rondon could not be tendered a 2018 contract with a salary less than $4.64M (and that's with the maximum 20% cut from his 2017 salary), but he was likely to get somewhere north of $6M if he had taken the Cubs to an arbitration hearing, and the Cubs obviously weren't interested in going there. Now that he has been non-tendered, Rondon's 2018 salary is no longer restricted by the maximum 20% cut rule, so the Cubs (or any other club) could sign him for any amount (but no less than the MLB minimum salary if it's a major league contract).  

It's very possible that the Cubs will try and re-sign T. Davis to a minor league contract (for MLB "split contract money" and an NRI to Spring Training), preferably after the MLB Rule 5 Draft a week from Thursday. Because T. Davis was an MLB Rule 6 Draft Excluded Player, he could not be sent outright to the minors during the off-season.  

So the Cubs MLB reserve list now stands at 34 (six slots are open).    


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11/30 ORIGINAL POST:



LHRP Dario Alvarez (a post-2017 minor leaguer 6YFA who was signed to a 2018 Major League contract by the Cubs yesterday), OF Jason Heyward (signed through 2023 with player opt-out options post-2018 and post-2019), LHSP Jon Lester (signed through 2020 with an automatic vesting option or else club option for 2021), LHSP Jose Quintana (signed through 2018 with club options for 2019 and 2020), 1B Anthony Rizzo (signed through 2019 with club options for 2020 and 2021), RHRP Pedro Strop (signed through 2018 with a club option for 2019) , and IF-OF Ben Zobrist (signed through 2019) are the only players on the Cubs MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who are signed for 2018, so the Cubs have until 8 PM (Eastern) tomorrow (Friday 12/1) to decide whether to tender contracts to the 29 unsigned players on their 40-man roster.

Contract Tender Day is unique in that it is the one day during the year when an unsigned player under club control (that is, not an MLB Article XX-B free-agent) can be removed from a club's MLB 40-man roster without exposing the player to Outright Assignment or Outright Release waivers.

Non-tendering an unsigned player and then re-signing him either to a major league or minor league contract is the one way a club can cut a player's salary more than the maximum-allowable 20% from the player's previous-season's salary. This is often the way a club will remove an injured unsigned player (or rehabbing player) or a player who is out of minor league options from the 40, while still retaining the player on a minor league contract for the next season.

This time last year the Cubs took advantage of the opportunity and non-tendered four players: LHRP Gerardo Concepcion (to remove him from the 40-man roster and cut his 2016 $1M salary more than 20%), RHRP Conor Mallee (to remove him from the 40 while he continued his rehab from ulnar nerve surgery), LHRP Zac Rosscup (to remove him from the 40 while he continued shoulder surgery rehab), and 3B Christian Villanueva (out of minor league options and not likely to make the Cubs MLB Opening Day 25-man roster, but valued as AAA depth for 2017). As it turned out, Concepcion, Mullee, and Rosscup re-signed with the Cubs (all three signed 2017 minor league contracts), while Villanueva signed a 2017 minor league deal with the San Diego Padres (where he felt he would have a better chance to get to the big leagues). 

Contract Tender Day is also the one day during the off-season when a player who cannot (by rule) be outrighted to the minors during the off-season (all players with MLB Rule 6 Draft-Excluded status and unsigned players with MLB Rule 55 Player status) can be removed from the 40 (and then possibly be re-signed to a minor league contract, preferably after the conclusion of the MLB Rule 5 Draft). Players in this class would include C-1B-3B Taylor Davis (Draft-Excluded Player) and LHRP Randy Rosario and RHRP Cory Mazzoni (both MLB Rule 55 players) 

The approach of Contract Tender Day can also serve as an impetus to immediately sign - or else TRADE - an arbitration-eligible player the club may not want to risk facing in an arbitration hearing (like RHRP Hector Rondon, RHRP Justin Grimm, and/or LHRP Justin Wilson).   


ROSTER STATUS OF UNSIGNED PLAYERS ON MLB RESERVE LIST (40-MAN ROSTER): 

After the conclusion of the MLB season, only those players on a club's MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) who have contracts for the following season are considered "signed players," but the other players on the 40-man roster are still under club control (they are "reserved").

Unsigned players on an MLB club's Reserve List (40-man roster) would include any player who was added to an MLB Reserve List (40-man roster) after the conclusion of the MLB regular season, any player who can have his contract unilaterally renewed by his club, any player who is eligible for salary arbitration, and any player eligible to be an MLB free-agent per Article XX-B of the CBA.


TENDERING CONTRACTS TO UNSIGNED PLAYERS ON MLB RESERBE LIST (40-MAN ROSTER) 


If an unsigned player is not tendered a contract by 8 PM (Eastern) on December 2nd (or December 1st if December 2nd falls on a Saturday, or November 30th if December 2nd falls on a Sunday), the player is said to be "Non-Tendered," he is immediately removed from his club's MLB 40-man roster, and he becomes an unrestricted free-agent, free to sign a major league or minor league contract with any club, including the club that non-tendered the player. A "Non-Tendered" player receives no termination pay, and the player's former club receives no compensation if the player subsequently signs with another club.

Each unsigned player on an MLB 40-man roster who is tendered a contract must be offered at least the MLB minimum salary ($535K in 2017, $555K in 2018, and $575K in 2019) and (with a couple of exceptions) at least 80% of the player's previous season's salary, and at least 70% of the player's salary from two seasons back.

Some players have a "minor league split" salary in their contract which they are paid if they are sent to the minors. In most cases, a player's minor league "split" salary must be at least 50% of the player's salary (as was actually paid to the player) from the previous season. The one exception is if a free-agent signs a major league contract with a minor league "split" salary, the "50% rule" does not apply

The minor league "split" minimum salary is $87,200 in 2017, $88,900 in 2018, and $90,400 in 2019, and the minor league "split" minimum salary for players who are on an MLB Reserve List for the first time is $43,600 in 2017, $44,500 in 2018, and $45,300 in 2019.


TENDERING CONTRACTS TO UNSIGNED PLAYERS ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY ARBITRATION: 

An unsigned player under club control who has accrued at least three but less than six years of MLB Service Time is automatically eligible for salary arbitration. Also, any unsigned player with at least two years but less than three years of MLB Service Time who accrued at least 86 days of MLB Service Time the previous season can qualify for salary arbitration as a so-called "Super Two" if the player is among the top 22% in MLB Service Time of players in that group.

The "Super Two" cut-off for 2018 (post-2017) is 2+123,

CUBS SALARY ARBITRATION ELIGIBLE PLAYERS POST-2017: (last updated 11-6-2017)
Kris Bryant, INF ("Super Two")
Justin Grimm, RHP
Kyle Hendricks, RHP
Tommy LaStella, INF 
Hector Rondon, RHP
Addison Russell, INF ("Super Two")
Justin Wilson, LHP

If a club and a player eligible for salary arbitration cannot agree on a contract, the player can request the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) to file for salary arbitration. The MLBPA is responsible for delivering all requests for salary arbitration to the MLB Labor Relations Department (MLB LRD) on the Tuesday immediately prior to the Friday that falls during the week January 10-16. Once salary arbitration has been requested, the player submits his desired salary to the MLBPA, the club submits its salary offer to the MLB LRD, and the MLBPA and MLB LRD exchange the two figures on the Friday that falls during the week January 10-16. The MLBPA and MLB LRD then schedule a hearing with a three-person arbitration panel. Hearings are held on various dates during the first three weeks of February. 

The club's offer must be at least the MLB minimum salary, and, in most cases, must be at least 80% of the player's previous year's salary and at least 70% of the player's salary from two seasons back. However, if the player received a raise in excess of 50% by a salary arbitration panel the previous season, a 20% maximum salary reduction from the previous season and a 30% maximum salary reduction from two seasons back does not apply, and the club only has to offer at least the MLB minimum salary.

After arbitration has been requested, the player and the club can continue to negotiate back & forth, and the player can withdraw from the process any time up until the hearing. And in fact this frequently happens, as the player and the club will often agree to just "split the difference" (something the panel cannot do). If the matter does go to a hearing, the arbitration panel must choose either the club's offer or the player's figure.

Win or lose, the player is awarded a standard one-year MLB contract with no "minor league split" salary or incentive/performance bonuses. Also, the contract is not guaranteed, so if the player is released during Spring Training, the club would only owe the player 30 days or 45 days salary as termination pay, depending on when the player is released. (A player on an MLB 40-man roster receives 100% of what remains of his salary if he is released during the regular season).

NOTE
: The Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) is very sensitive about salary arbitration, so if a player is victorious at an arbitration hearing and is awarded a contract by an arbitration panel and then is subsequently released by his club prior to or during Spring Training, the MLBPA will almost always file a grievance on behalf of the player, claiming the player was released for economic reasons only (which is not permitted), and asking that the released player receive 100% of his salary as termination pay. In that situation, a club would have to show (by submitting official Spring Training game stats) that the released player was out-performed in Spring Training games by another player (or players) competing for that roster spot.


TENDERING CONTRACTS TO PLAYERS NOT YET ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY ARBITTRATION: 

An unsigned player under club control who does not yet qualify for salary arbitration ultimately has to either accept the club's offer or just not play.

A club will negotiate with the player up to a point, but if the player has not signed a contract for the current season by March 1st, the club has the right to unilaterally dictate the player's salary and renew the player's contract from the previous season (albeit for an amount not less than the MLB minimum salary, and not less than 80% of the player's salary from the previous season and not less than 70% of the player's salary from two season's back).

These players are the ones who have a "minor league split" salary in their contract, which the player is paid if he is sent to the minors. A player's "minor league split" salary must be at least equal to the 2018 MLB "minor league split" minimum salary and must be at least 50% of the player's salary from the previous season.
NOTE: If a free-agent signs a major league contract with a minor league "split" salary, the "50% rule" does not apply.

CUBS PRE-ARBITRATION/AUTO-RENEWAL PLAYERS POST-2017 (last updated 11-30-2017)
Albert Almora, Jr, OF
Dario Alvarez, LHP (free-agent signed by Cubs 11-29-2017)
Adbert Alzolay, RHP
Javy Baez, INF
David Bote, INF
Eddie Butler, RHP
Victor Caratini, C
Willson Contreras, C
Taylor Davis, C-1B
Oscar de la Cruz, RHP
Carl Edwards, Jr, RHP
Luke Farrell, RHP
Ian Happ, IF-OF
Dillon Maples, RHP
Cory Mazzoni, RHP
Alec Mills, RHP
Mike Montgomery, LHP
Randy Rosario, LHP
Kyle Schwarber, OF-C
Jen-Ho Tseng, RHP
Duan Underwood Jr, RHP
Mark Zagunis, OF
Rob Zastryzny, LHP

Comments

One thing to keep in mind about MLB Contract Tender Day and unsigned players on an MLB 40-man roster who are eligible for salary arbitratrion is that clubs do - NOT - offer salary arbitration to players by tendering them a contract.

MLB clubs NEVER offer salary arbitration to players.

Rather, salary arbitration can only be requested by the player, and the request for salary arbitration cannot be made until the second week of January.

However, by tendering a contract to an arbitration-eligible player on Contract Tender Day, the player's club is making a commitment to the player which could ultimately result in a salary arbitration hearing. That's why arbitration-eligible players sometimes get non-tendered (or traded prior to the contract tender deadline). 

Non-tender Friday. Trade for Competitive Balance Draft Pick Saturday. Sign Braves Prospect Week on Tuesday. Holla.

Cubs reportedly send ca$h (probably at least $100K) in lieu of a PTBNL to Detroit to complete Justin Wilson/Alex Avila deal from last July. Because they had the worst record in MLB in 2017, the Tigers will have the #1 waiver claim priority through the first 30 days of the 2018 MLB regular season and they also get the 1st pick in the MLB Rule 5 Draft next month, so they probably have plans for the ca$h they received from the Cubs.

"Braves agreed to terms with LHP Rex Brothers on a one-year, $1.1 million contract." da fuk...really? alright. whatever.

Ah, the Rex Brothers era. Good times.

espn later reported it's non-guaranteed (1.1 mlb, 450K minors)...so at least there's some sanity left in the world.

"According to SiriusXM's Craig Mish, Giants executives are meeting with representatives for Giancarlo Stanton in Los Angeles." sounds like things are getting serious.

Hector Rondon non-tendered (sensible move imo) https://twitter.com/espnchicubs/status/936736...

The Cubs have tendered 2018 contracts to 27 of the 29 unsigned players on their MLB reserve list (40-man roster).

RHRP Hector Rondon and C-1B-3B Taylor Davis were non-tendered and are now unrestricted free-agents, free to sign a 2018 major league or minor league contract with any club (including the Cubs).

Rondon could not be tendered a 2018 contract with a salary less than $4.64M (and that's with the maximum 20% cut from his 2017 salary), but he was likely to get somewhere north of $6M if he had taken the Cubs to an arbitration hearing, and the Cubs obviously weren't interested in going there. Now that he has been non-tendered, Rondon's 2018 salary is no longer restricted by the maximum 20% cut rule, so the Cubs (or any other club) could sign him for any amount (but no less than the MLB minimum salary if it's a major league contract).  

It's very possible that the Cubs will try and re-sign T. Davis to a minor league contract (for MLB "split contract money" and an NRI to Spring Training), preferably after the MLB Rule 5 Draft a week from Thursday. Because T. Davis was an MLB Rule 6 Draft Excluded Player, he could not be sent outright to the minors during the off-season.  

So the Cubs MLB reserve list now stands at 34 (six slots are open).

Contracts tendered yesterday are - NOT - guaranteed, meaning the Cubs could release the tendered player prior to Opening Day and be on the hook for only 30 days pay (if released at least 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day) or 45 days pay (if released less than 15 days prior to MLB Opening Day). This is also true for contracts awarded via the arbitration process.

However, sometimes a player who is eligible for salary arbitration will agree to sign for less money if the club guarantees the contract.

There is no guarantee at this point in time that Justin Grimm will make the Cubs Opening Day 25-man roster, and in fact as long as he isn't signed to a guaranteed contract, the Cubs could look at Grimm all Spring Training and then decide the day before Opening Day to release him, and be on the hook for about 25% of his salary as termination pay. So if Grimm ends up signing a non-guaranteed contract for something like $2.5M, the Cubs could release him prior to Opening Day and be on the hook for about $625K.

As for why Taylor Davis was non-tendered, he was a Draft-Excluded Player (has accrued less than three years of MLB Service Time, is eligible for selection in the Rule 5 Draft, and had his contract selected and was added to an MLB 40-man roster after August 15th) and so he could not by rule be outrighted to the minors during the off-season (after November 10th). Also, by non-tendering him the Cubs were able to remove Davis from their MLB 40-man roster without the risk of losing him off waivers (if they had attempted to outright him last month). So now T. Davis can be re-signed to a minor league contract (preferably after the Rule 5 Draft, because if he is re-signed to as minor league contract prior to the Rule 5 Draft he would be eligible for selection), presuming he would be agreeable to the deal.

If T. Davis had remained on the Cubs MLB 40-man roster he would have been tendered a 2018 major league UPC with a salary slightly more than $555K (the MLB minimum salary in 2018) for when he is on the 25-man roster and with a minor league "split" salary around $100K (if he is optioned to the minors). So now that he he been non-tendered, the Cubs might offer T. Davis a minor league contract with a salary of (let's say) $125K (which is $25K more than the minor league "split" salary he would have received if he had been tendered a major league contract and then have been optioned to Iowa) plus an NRI to Spring Training (same thing he would have received automatically if he had been on the MLB 40-man roster).

Of course T. Davis doesn't have to accept the offer, but it could be a better deal than what he could get elsewhere, especially if he likes playing in Des Moines and/or if he believes he could get a call-up to Chicago sometime during the 2018 season. Again, the Cubs would certainly prefer that if he does agree to sign a 2018 minor league contract, that T. Davis waits to sign until - AFTER - the Rule 5 Draft so that he won't be eligible for selection.

As for why a club would prefer to non-tender a player rather than release him, if a player is given his outright release September 1st through March 31st, he cannot be re-signed to a major league contract (and be added to the club's MLB 40-man roster) until May 15th. There is no such restriction for non-tendered players. So think of Contract Tender Day as a sort of "roster island oasis," where a club can do things it can't do any other day of the year. 

So (for example), if the Cubs had released Hector Rondon instead of non-tendering him, they would not be able to offer him a major league contract or a spot on their MLB 40-man roster until May 15th. But by non-tendering Rondon, the Cubs could (if Rondon were to agree to the deal) re-sign him to a major league contract and add him back to the MLB 40-man roster without having to wait until May 15th.

And as I mentioned previously, Rondon could not have been tendered a 2018 major league UPC with a salary less than $4.64M (and that's with the maximum 20% cut) with a potential arbitration award in excess of $6M, which is obviously more than what the Cubs felt he was worth. But now the Cubs can (try to) re-sign Rondon for considerably less money (perhaps a $3M base salary plus incentives), although given the way things ended in Chicago, he will probably sign elsewhere, someplace where he can get a chance to close.  

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  • crunch 53 min 20 sec ago (view)

    11 umpires opt out of 2020...

     

  • Cubster 19 hours 15 min ago (view)

    IMPOTUS 45: "ANYBODY WHO WANTS A TEST CAN GET A TEST"

    then said quietly by his elves: although it can take up to 1-2 days (or two tanks of gas) to get through test lines and then 7-14 days to get results.

     

  • crunch 19 hours 39 min ago (view)

    5 cubs players + d.ross didn't work out with the team today because their tests were dealyed.  4 players + d.ross later came back negative and 1 test will have to be done again because it was compromised during transport and invalidated.

    ...turns out the compromised test was not a player, but a non-player/non-ross Tier 1 employee.  neat.

     

  • crunch 22 hours 41 sec ago (view)

    v.caratini will continue to be darvish's preferred catcher this season.

     

  • crunch 22 hours 1 min ago (view)

    j.hicks (STL) opts out.  he's a T1 diabetic currently rehabbing from TJ.  he was expected to return in august.

     

  • JustSayin' 1 day 19 hours ago (view)

    I think what your saying applies to all franchises in all big-time team sports.  The virus is asymptomatic in many carriers.  The national positive test % rate is mid/high single digits.  If your pro sports franchise does 3-4 x better than that, it still means some players and coaches will test positive and things will grind to a partial or complete halt.  At least baseball didn't try to "bubble" in AZ and FL, which are looking like two of the worst (and worst-led) states in which to be located at the currrent stage of the pandemic.

     

  • crunch 1 day 20 hours ago (view)

    rizzo took BP and did some field work today.  also, almora is good to go...he ran into a wall on friday and got a little banged up.

     

  • Cubster 2 days 4 hours ago (view)

    Aroldis Chapman is now Covid positive with mild symptoms

     

  • crunch 2 days 16 hours ago (view)

    the COVID-Division should be fun.

    teams from TX, AZ, CA, WA, and CO exclusively playing each other...  CO is all "wtf, really?"

     

  • Cubster 2 days 17 hours ago (view)

    ...and so it goes (per Roto): Astros general manager James Click wrote in a statement that a member of the staff "was potentially exposed to a COVID-positive individual outside the organization.” The team is working with MLB and team doctors on testing protocol and cleaning before resuming workouts. 

    Does the visiting team bring a Covid positive bio-weapon to the player's parking lot?

     

  • Charlie 3 days 30 min ago (view)

    I've been wondering how this would proceed. Since teams will have to figure out how existing contracts will be paid, I thought there was a *chance* they would proceed with free agency as usual and plan for payment under potential shortened seasons would just be figured out in negotiations with the MLBPA. But that was probably an overly optimistic thought.

     

  • Dolorous Jon Lester 3 days 3 hours ago (view)

    Meanwhile Theo shoots down any potential of extension talks. I get that it's a crazy time financially in baseball, but it's really gonna suck when all these players leave after 21 and 22.

     

  • Cubster 3 days 14 hours ago (view)

    WSox Michael Kopech has opted out of 2020. I didn't see a disclosed reason yet but he is recovering from TJ S 

     

  • crunch 4 days 44 min ago (view)

    buster posey (SF) opting out of 2020...recently adopted twin daughters who were born premature.

     

  • Cubster 5 days 4 hours ago (view)

    per Tribune: Kimbrel's OK, just working on his changeup (formerly his fastball).

     

  • Arizona Phil 5 days 16 hours ago (view)

    The Cubs have released RHRP (and their erstwhile closer) Brandon Morrow. There is no indication that they plan to re-sign him to another (different) 2020 minor league contract without the Article XX-B $100K retention bonus provision (as happened with Jason Kipnis last week).