8 biggest names who could possibly be non-tendered
Major League Baseball's non-tender deadline is scheduled for Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET and, with it, some players will become free agents as teams look to avoid their rising arbitration costs.
Notable names hit the open market every year. The 2020 list included Kyle Schwarber, Paul Sewald, and NLCS MVP Eddie Rosario.
Let's take a look at some key players who could find themselves searching for a new club before the current collective bargaining agreement expires. Some names are more bold than others.
Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
Projected salary in arbitration: $16.1 million
The likelihood of Bellinger hitting the open market might be higher if he played for a club more cash-strapped than the Dodgers. However, L.A. has gobs of cash and will almost certainly retain its former MVP, even if that means a hefty one-year price tag for a player who was below replacement level last year.
There's a slight chance the Dodgers cut ties from him. First, Bellinger's shoulder surgery could impact Los Angeles' decision if the team believes it'll potentially cause lingering issues next season. Second, perhaps the Dodgers look into their crystal ball and see that the new CBA includes a salary cap. These are slim chances and likely won't affect its verdict, but L.A. needs to consider these variables with the deadline looming.
Tyler Glasnow, Rays
Projected salary in arbitration: $5.8 million
The Rays are notoriously frugal, and Glasnow is slated to be sidelined for most, if not all, of 2022. That being said, he's still the ace of their staff and was a Cy Young front-runner before suffering his injury last year. If Tampa really wants to save the money owed to the right-hander, it would likely be worth it to retain Glasnow through the non-tender deadline and then trade him.
Adam Duvall, Braves
Projected salary in arbitration: $9.1 million
The Braves could non-tender Duvall for a second straight season. The slugger posted similar numbers to his 2020 campaign after Atlanta acquired him at last season's trade deadline - his second stint with the club. The team let him walk before last year's tender deadline because he was expected to earn at least $4 million in arbitration. That figure projects to more than double this time around.
Jesus Aguilar, Marlins
Projected salary in arbitration: $7.4 million
Aguilar was seen as a potential non-tender candidate in 2020 as well, but the slugger and Marlins avoided arbitration with a one-year, $4.35-million deal. Now, after contributing similar production, Aguilar is expected to get a roughly 40% raise. In an offseason where the Pittsburgh Pirates have already given Yoshi Tsutsugo $4 million, maybe Aguilar is worth that. However, first basemen with Aguilar's skill set aren't especially rare, so Miami could look elsewhere to keep costs low.
Manuel Margot, Rays
Projected salary in arbitration: $5.0 million
Margot's 2021 campaign was a far cry from his 2020 playoff performance when he posted five home runs, 11 RBIs, and a .896 OPS. With the 27-year-old projected to earn $5 million through arbitration, it wouldn't be surprising if the Rays non-tender him since he's only posted an OPS above .696 once in his career. The Dominican's play on the other side of the ball - 13 defensive runs saved last season - might be enough to save his job.
Josh Bell, Nationals
Projected salary in arbitration: $10 million
Bell's first season in Washington got off to a slow start, but the slugger turned it on from June to season's end, setting him up for a sizable raise through arbitration. The Nationals aren't presently in a position to contend, meaning Bell's hefty salary might be too rich for their blood. However, he's still relatively young, and his bat complements Juan Soto better than any of the first basemen available in free agency not named Freddie Freeman.
Victor Robles, Nationals
Projected salary in arbitration: $1.7 million
Robles, a former top prospect, has failed to live up to expectations. The projected $1.7 million likely won't stop Washington from keeping a speedy center fielder who hit a promising .258/.328/.430 over 176 games between 2018-19 while accruing 3.1 WAR. However, he's essentially become a defensive replacement behind Lane Thomas, so the rebuilding Nats could look to prioritize other areas. If so, Robles has a tantalizing enough set of tools that another team would be eager to give him a shot.
Gary Sanchez, Yankees
Projected salary in arbitration: $7.9 million
It's been a while since Sanchez dominated opposing pitching, but he still showed flashes of his old self last season with 23 homers. Still, questions remain about his offensive consistency, as well as his lingering defensive issues. A few things may be working in Sanchez's favor, though. New York's internal catching options aren't great, free agency is thin at catcher, and $7.9 million isn't much for the Yankees to spend on one more shot with the Dominican backstop.