The 2022-23 MLB offseason is starting to take shape.
Teams and players have already decided on whether to decline or accept options or opt out of their contracts.
Clubs, additionally, have decided which players to add to their 40-man rosters in order to retain them ahead of the Rule 5 Draft.
Now, another deadline is coming at us real fast.
“Tomorrow is a major date on the @MLB offseason calendar. It’s the deadline to tender contracts, which is especially relevant to arbitration-eligible players like Cody Bellinger,” MLB insider Jon Morosi tweeted.
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 17, 2022
Players eligible for arbitration receive raises based on several conditions.
Sometimes these projected raises are so significant that teams decided not to tender these players a contract.
Non-tendered players immediately become free agents.
According to the league’s official site, “players on the 40-man roster with fewer than six years of Major League service time must be tendered contracts each offseason by a set deadline or non-tendered and released to the free-agent pool.”
Teams Non-Tender Players For Several Reasons
Sometimes teams non-tender players because they are injured, have slumped recently, or just think their projected salary does not match their contributions on the field.
However, organizations also non-tender players because they need the roster spot.
The specific case Morosi is mentioning, with Cody Bellinger, is fascinating.
A former MVP Award winner just three years ago, Bellinger’s career has tanked since then.
He has been below-average offensively for the last two seasons, and while he is an asset with the glove, it’s hard to justify paying someone $16 or $17 million just for good defense and offensive “upside”.
He is a prime non-tender candidate, and if it happens, there will be plenty of suitors for him.