Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
As you may know, the non-tender deadline is today. This means that if the A’s wish to retain an arbitration-eligible player, they must tender him a major-league contract by midnight EST or risk losing him to free agency.
After that, the two sides are free to exchange numbers up until an arbitration hearing, which the A's have historically avoided. Indeed, most of the time, arbitration is avoided and the sides settle somewhere in the middle. There is too much risk to each side that they will lose and be forced to accept the arbitrator's decision, which is binding.
There are currently 6 players who were on the roster at some point last year who are arbitration-eligible. (Pat Neshek, who is arbitration-eligible, agreed to a one-year deal with the A's on Wednesday.) Courtesy of MLBTR:
Given the A's infield situation right now, it is actually going to be interesting to see who, if anyone, is not-tendered a contract. Personally, I would say there are 3 players who will almost certainly be tendered a contract: Moss, Blevins, and Kotteras. There is no point in not keeping Moss in the fold after his breakout 2012, even if he does regress significantly. Jerry Blevins had an effective 2012 campaign as well, and will probably check-in with a modest salary. Kotteras is the prototypical backup catcher, and quite honestly, there is no one else who can really take his place right now (unless the A's sign someone else in the future).
So that leaves Smith, Barton, and Rosales. I could go either way on Smith: Yoenis Cespedes will be manning LF most likely, but it would be a fool's errand to count on him right now for 150+ games. On the other hand, Chris Young's acquisition means that Coco Crisp could be playing LF when Young is in CF and Cespedes needs a rest. Smith mashes righties to the tune of a 120 wRC+, but could be due for a raise from his $2.145M deal last year. That said, he's still a 1-2 win backup, and that does cost money. If he's non-tendered, I won't be crying; if he stays, he'll be excellent depth and platoon power.
Another guy that could go either way is Adam Rosales. He plays basically all the INF positions, and can play COF in a pinch. Given the state of the A's SS pursuit, he is a possible in-house solution there. On the other hand, the A's acquired his twin in Andy Parrino just the other day. Is it worth maybe around $900K to keep him as an option? Again, won't cry if he's gone, but him staying isn't the worst idea ever.
Finally, I believe Daric Barton has seen his last days in green-and-gold. Despite being a superior defender to anyone else on the roster right now, he is obviated by Moss and Chris Carter. If the A's really wanted to keep him, they might have told him to switch positions by now. I suspect he will be snapped up by some team on an MiLB deal with an ST invite after his non-tender. It's a shame, too, because he had that breakout 5-win 2010 season and fans thought this was the guy they would see for some time manning 1B. What's more, he is the most controversial A's player since Jack Cust and it'll be good for the organization to move on from a player who could use a change of scenery.
Who do you think gets non-tendered? Discuss!