Normally the non-tender deadline doesn’t garner too much buzz, especially when a slugger like Mike Moustakas signs a four year, $64 million deal the same day. But some of the names that were not offered contracts by their current teams should intrigue a number of others.
Kevin Pillar, OF
Superman has left the building. To those not paying much attention to the struggling Giants, Kevin Pillar was their best hitter in 2019, leading them in home runs (21), RBIs (87), plate appearances (628), and total bases (263). Him leading the Giants offense is not saying much, but his bat is at least serviceable. Pillar’s outfield defense remains a plus tool, though it wasn’t the Gold Glove-caliber it has been. He also did receive one 10th place MVP vote this year from a San Francisco writer, so there’s that.
Blake Treinen, RP
The Giants’ cross-Bay rival let loose probably the most attractive name on the market. While Treinen had a poor 2019 season (4.91 ERA) that was interrupted by injuries, he’s not far removed from a 0.78 ERA in 2018. Relievers can be volatile, but his recent ceiling and many teams’ need for bullpen help shouldn’t keep him unemployed for long.
Charlie Culberson, UTIL
Culberson’s last act as a Brave was having his face broken on a bunt attempt. But before that he was a capable utility man with good defense wherever he played. He lacks outstanding numbers on the offensive side with an OPS below .750 last season, but he’s not dismal at the plate. He’s also proven to be a pretty clutch hitter and a good clubhouse guy. With teams being given an extra player on the active roster in 2020, a player like Culberson’s value is increased a little bit.
César Hernández, IF
This seems to be a move by the Phillies to clear space for a possible free agent splash, because it’d be a little curious if this was driven by Hernandez’s play on the field. While not a great defender in the middle infield, he provides a steady on base percentage and stability with his ability to stay healthy (155+ games three of the previous four years). He’s had better years than 2019, so that should intrigue teams who need a guy up the middle.
Taijuan Walker, SP
Walker is not so much a surprising non-tender, but an intriguing name that a team could buy low on and get good value back. The biggest question with the hard throwing right hander is his health. He’s only made 4 starts since 2017 and thrown less than 100 career innings with a sub-4.00 ERA. If a team can keep him healthy for a full year, he has the stuff to be a top of the rotation kind of guy.
Yolmer Sánchez, IF
Sánchez is in this list so I can remind you (or fill you in) that he won the AL Gold Glove at second base in 2019. Nevertheless the White Sox didn’t offer him a contract after he posted a .639 OPS with a pair of homers on the year. If you want a defensive specialist who dumps the Gatorade bucket on himself instead of the guy who hit a walk-off, Yolmer Sánchez is your man.