Monday brought a sudden wave of new free agents to baseball’s offseason, but none of them were Mets or Yankees.
The Mets tendered contracts to all 31 of their eligible players by the 8 p.m. deadline. That includes eight who are slated for salary arbitration: Noah Syndergaard, Michael Conforto, Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz, Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, Brandon Nimmo and Robert Gsellman.
The Yankees extended contracts to 33 of their players, including nine eligible for arbitration: Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, James Paxton, Tommy Kahnle, Gio Urshela, Chad Green, Jordan Montgomery, Luis Cessa and Jonathan Holder.
Because neither team non-tendered a player — declining to offer him a contract despite him being under team control, thus making him a free agent — this was largely just a formality, the beginning of the arbitration process. These players can still be traded, and none of them have decided-upon salaries for next season.
The next arbitration-related deadline is Jan. 10, when teams and players/agents exchange desired salary figures. The sides can avoid arbitration and agree to a deal before then.
The other dozens of New York players tendered contracts Monday are “pre-arb” players who have spent fewer than three years in the majors and aren’t eligible for arbitration yet. They have effectively no leverage in negotiating their 2020 contracts. Among those who fall into this category are Pete Alonso, Amed Rosario, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and others.
In all, 40 players were non-tendered Monday, becoming free agents at least a year earlier than they otherwise would have. And several could be fits with the Mets specifically.
The Athletics dumped a pair of relievers, righthander Blake Treinen and lefthander Ryan Buchter. Treinen, 31, struggled last season, posting a 4.91 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. But he is just a year removed from finishing sixth in 2018 AL Cy Young Award voting with a 0.78 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 38 saves. Buchter, 32, had a 2.98 ERA last year and has a 2.87 ERA the past four years, averaging 64 appearances per season.
Righthander Junior Guerra is available after being cut by the Brewers. He had a 3.55 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 72 appearances last season, his first as a full-time reliever.
Centerfielder Kevin Pillar hit the open market after being non-tendered by the Giants. He has never been much of a hitter in the majors, including a .259/.287/.432 slash line last season, but is better against lefthanded pitchers (.278/.305/.519) and has a reputation as a strong defender.