December 12 is one of those interesting deadlines as teams around Major League Baseball had to decide whether or not to tender contracts to some veteran players. Players that are non-tendered are free to sign a deal anywhere else and can be useful at times for filling out rosters. What doesn't work for some team may work for another. Catchers, infielders and relief pitchers are usually the casualties. Non-tendering a player doesn't necessarily mean that that player will not play again for the same team. A restructured contract offer (read: lower priced) can be offered to that player if a team still finds the player useful. But usually, a non-tender means that player is finished with that team.
Let's look at the list of these players that were non-tendered yesterday and see what we have. There may be a nugget or two in the bunch that can help the right team:
Player - former team
- Micah Owings - Diamondbacks: Owings has long been a favorite of this site, but in reality is nothing but a league replacement pitcher at best and a home run machine and high WHIP guy at his worst. His walk rate did come down last year. But let's face it, Owings is at most useful as a combo long relief/pinch hitter who can mop up innings in blowouts. Some National League team may find that useful.
- Joe Saunders - Diamondbacks: The suspect here is that the Diamondbacks had some interest in Saunders but couldn't agree on a contract. Some team will find interest in Saunders because he has proven he can throw 200 innings year after year and has a .570 winning percentage doing so. But the reality is that he gives up far too many homers, has always had a high WHIP, doesn't strike anyone out and his only distinguishing feature is that he's left-handed. Even so, some team will take a flyer on him.
- Brooks Conrad - Braves: This one is kind of sad. Conrad had some big moments with the Braves. He's got a little pop in his bat but doesn't hit for average. And he's 31 years old. If teams need a back up second baseman and third baseman, he could be useful. He can't play short, so that makes him less useful as a true utility player.
- Peter Moylan - Braves: Moylan should draw some interest. He was a semi-expensive bullpen option for the Braves who had many cheaper options. Moylan was also hurt most of 2011. But his career 2.60 ERA (3.66 FIP) in 255+ innings of MLB work make him interesting for a team in need of bullpen help. He walks too many batters but he's hard to square up with a traditionally low line drive rate. Worth a look for somebody.
- Luke Scott - Orioles: A dangerous bat from the left side when healthy, some team will give him an invite as a DH/1B type. His hard core/right-wing personality might turn a lot of teams off though. Only real value comes as a DH.
- Willie Eyre - Orioles: Eyre has been a fringe major league player for quite a while and has spent more time in the minors than in the majors. He's 32 now and might catch on for somebody really hurting in the bullpen. But Eyre could be about done when it comes to interest.
- Rich Hill - Red Sox: Despite his history, Hill will be wanted somewhere. He's left handed and has shown flashes of being dominant. But let's face it, you can't keep this guy healthy and he isn't worth the risk. A minor league sign and Spring Training invite would be as high as it should go.
- Koyie Hill - Cubs: Hill is a lousy on-base guy with below average results on defense behind the plate who has trouble throwing base runners out. In other words, he's your typical MLB back up catcher. Yuck.
- Cole Garner - Rockies: Garner has only had a cup of coffee in the majors after a long minor league career. He has some pretty good minor league numbers but is too old to be a prospect. He could be useful to someone weak in the outfield. A Spring Training invite couldn't hurt.
- Ryan Spilborghs - Rockies: Has had two negative seasons after several positive ones. If you can't hit when your home park is Coors Field and your fielding stumbles at the same time, you aren't employable.
- Will Rhymes - Tigers: Rhymes had a useful bat in 2010 which made up for his less than useful second base glove. But he fell on really hard times last year at the plate and might have buried himself. Worth a Spring Training invite, but limited to second base means limit in value.
- Aaron Laffey - Royals: Everyone covets left-handed pitching, but Laffey has not been overly effective in his career against lefties who still have an OPS of .718 against him. He doesn't strike out anyone and has no velocity. Forgettaboutit.
- Hong-Chih Kuo - Dodgers: Here's an effective lefty who strikes out a lot of left-handed batters when he's healthy. But he's never, ever healthy. Invite at your own risk.
- Clay Hensley - According to Michael Jong who covers the Marlins, it now appears that Hensley's strikeout rate in 2010 was a fluke. His velocity is down to 85 MPH on a good day. He has to be hiding an injury. Pass.
- Jose Mijares - Twins: Another lefty reliever who tanked last year as his walk rate spiked and his K/9 plummeted. His velocity was down two MPH last year too. But he's only 26. Someone might bite.
- Michael Baxter - Mets: A minor league filler type. Pass.
- Ronnie Paulino - Mets: One of the better options as a back up catcher. Has never had a negative value, which is rare for the breed. He could help somebody. His defense fell down a bit in 2011. Useful.
- Jason Jaramillo - Pirates: At 28, he's one of the younger back up catching options around. Hasn't showed the plate discipline in the majors that he showed in the minors. Not a bad defender. Could be a better option than some as a back up.
- Pedro Ciriaco - Pirates: No plate discipline. Minor league player at best.
- Jeremy Hermida - Padres: Was useful at one time. But no longer. Probably done.
- Jeff Keppinger - Giants: No power, no range as an infielder. At 31, his options will be limited. He hit well for Houston a couple of years ago so perhaps someone will give him a shot.
- Eli Whiteside - Giants: A terrible offensive player, he had some value as a defensive catcher. But he is getting progressively worse at throwing base steal attempts out. There are better options out there. Much better options.
- Daniel Cortes - Mariners: Big time arm as he throws 95 MPH. But he's immature and seems prone to be his worst enemy. Once projected as the Mariners' closer, now he's unemployed. His arm will attract somebody. He's only 25.
- Chris Gimenez - Mariners: Gimenez has good plate discipline when given a chance but hasn't hit in the majors. He can catch and play the outfield and is a fair defender. Could be a sleeper for somebody.
- Ryan Theriot - Cardinals: As stated here many times, he was a major tactical blunder by the Cardinals that nearly derailed their season last year. But someone will pick him up as a back up infielder. Highly overrated in usefulness.
- Andrew Sonnanstine - Bay Rays: Toast. No velocity, no nothing left. Some feel he was mistreated by the Rays. But, he's done. Toast.
- Fabio Castillo - Rangers: Minor league arm. Young. Someone might see some promise. But other than his happy name, not much going on here.
There's your list. Not much going on here, eh? Might be a few nuggets that can be useful. But on the whole, a big bunch of fringe major leaguers.