The New York Mets may say farewell to more familiar faces this winter by non-tendering contracts to several men.
“Release him!” is something we often hear from sports fans and villainous movie tyrants who own large monsters to fight their enemies. New York Mets fans are one of several from the former group prone to shouting those two words when frustrated with a player.
In baseball, it’s not so easy to release a player. Contracts are guaranteed and it doesn’t always make sense to pay a man to go away.
The most common way we see a veteran depart from his contract is through the non-tender process.
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Each year, teams have an option to discuss a new contract with arbitration-eligible players. If they would rather not keep him around, they can non-tender him a deal. The result of this process makes the man a free agent.
The roster currently has three non-tender candidates. Let’s take a look at each and whether or not they should be invited back.
Travis d’Arnaud, the longtime Mets catcher, missed most of 2018 due to Tommy John Surgery. We expected to see him share catching duties with fellow backstop Kevin Plawecki. Instead, we saw a carousel of catchers.
Due to the major surgery, one year of arbitration remaining, and less then stellar performance over the years, it might be time to move on from d’Arnaud. The catching situation for 2019 could go in many different directions. One strong possibility includes non-tendering d’Arnaud and moving forward with the next era behind the plate.
Mets fans were devastated to learn about Wilmer Flores’ knees. Also in the final year of arbitration eligibility in 2019, there’s a strong likelihood the Mets non-tender one of the franchise’s most popular players this winter.
Based on the numbers, Flores didn’t show any signs of slowing down. He was still one of the more consistent hitters in 2018. However, his ailing body could take away the chance to see him suit up in Queens again. Perhaps the best result is a non-tender followed by a minor league contract with an incentive to make the MLB roster. This would cut his paycheck by a few million, but also keep him where he belongs: in blue and orange.
A forgotten stud pitching prospect from yesteryear, Rafael Montero missed all of 2018 due to UCL damage. About to enter the first year of his arbitration eligibility, we will never see him negotiate his first MLB contract. On Friday, he cleared waivers and has been released.
Montero never developed into the pitcher many thought he could become. The sample size, while not extensive, is probably enough to part ways. The Mets didn’t have a need for a starting pitcher and would be taking a major risk at overpaying for a guy coming off of a major injury without a resume to justify it.
Although this isn’t technically a non-tender move, it has the same results. No more Montero in Queens.
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Who do you think, if anyone, the Mets non-tender this offseason?