Today is the day the A's will need to make decisions on who they will offer a contract to play for them for 2014 among the club's arbitration eligible players. While most players the A's have under team control will be offered a contract, there are a couple of players on the bubble.
To review, here are the A's arbitration-eligible players, along with a rundown of their projected 2014 salaries, courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors:
Jed Lowrie - $4.8MM
Seth Smith - $4.3MM
Brandon Moss - $3.8MM
John Jaso - $2.2MM
Josh Reddick - $2.2MM
Jerry Blevins - $1.5MM
Daric Barton - $1.4MM
Jesse Chavez - $600K
Fernando Rodriguez - $500K
(Scott Sizemore and Pat Neshek are no longer arbitration eligible, as they are now free agents and available to sign with any team.)
Of those 9 players, it is very likely that the following 7 players will be tendered a contract:
The former 5 are slated to be valuable contributors in 2014, or are excellent trade pieces should Beane be inclined to move them. The latter two are inexpensive and so are likely to be tendered a deal, seeing as they will make near the major league minimum anyway. Remember that simply because a player is not non-tendered today, does not mean he will necessarily be an Oakland Athletic in 2014. It just means that the team wishes to retain control over them.
For Blevins and Barton, however, the picture is a little murkier. There are minor league players who are potentially available over the waiver wire or currently on a roster in the organization already who may be able to fill those roles at a fraction of the cost. Should the A's go this route, they could potentially save $1.9M in contract costs ($2.9M - 2 x $500K). Indeed, for example, with the recent acquisition of Fernando Abad, that could make Blevins expendable.
Daric Barton is the only true first baseman on the roster. However, with Brandon Moss and Nate Freiman making a relatively effective first base platoon, Barton seems like the odd man out. On the other hand, the team has made numerous attempts to rid themselves of him and he has returned, so the A's may just stick with him this year as insurance should one of Moss or Freiman become ineffective. Should the A's indeed non-tender him, I fully expect him to be picked up by Tampa Bay and put up that elusive five-win season many AN denizens expect he could be with the right amount of playing time.
Stay tuned for any announcements. The A's are generally not ones to announce things with minutes left to spare, so it is possible we will see tweets about their decisions earlier in the day.
Update: All were tendered:
#Athletics have tendered contracts to all remaining unsigned players on the 40-man roster. (2/2)— Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) December 3, 2013