New Market: Non-Tenders

Similar to a bonus number on your lottery ticket, the “non-tenders” inject a new influx of talent into the free-agent market. This year there are a number of intriguing players who have just been cut loose as a result of the non-tender process, and are officially free agents — with no worries about Types nor draft pick compensation.

Here are a few that the Mets might consider targeting:

Jonny Gomes

Something of an enigma, the power-hitting Gomes has had three disappointing seasons after showing great promise in his rookie season. His .182 average last season was abysmal, though he still put one over the fence at his usual rate of about once every 20 ABs. He’s weak in the field, strikes out too much, and at 28 is running out of time to fulfill his original potential as a future all-star. Teammates, managers, and fans love his emotional, hard-nosed approach to the game, but it’s his stick that makes him valuable. Putting him in the orange and blue would evoke memories of Dave Kingman. Who knows, maybe a change of scenery and a new set of eyes on him are what he needs to blossom. The Mets are desperate for a righthanded, power-hitting corner outfielder. Gomes would be worth rolling the dice on, no?

Daniel Cabrera

Can I mention the word enigma again? The big righthander is the righthanded version of Oliver Perez, only LESS consistent. At times, he’s dominating … most others, he’s a basket case. His upside is tremendous, he’s only 27, and he’s still trying to learning how to pitch. At 6’7″, he’s awkward and often looks uncoordinated, but who knows? It took Randy Johnson a while to figure it out … maybe Cabrera is right on the cusp.

Takashi Saito

An excellent closer, but coming off an elbow injury that makes him a huge question mark. The Mets won’t go after him — if they want to gamble on a damaged reliever, it will be Chad Cordero. But if the Dodgers don’t re-sign him, he may find a job as a closer for someone like the Cardinals.

Scott Proctor

He may never be the same after multiple arm injuries. However, he was still humming in the mid-90s in late September after recovering from a shoulder issue that affected him in the first half.

Yhency Brazoban

YADRNT – Yet Another Dodger Reliever Non-Tendered. Like Proctor and Saito, Brazoban has had serious arm injuries — and surgery on both his shoulder and elbow. The Dodgers originally dealt Duaner Sanchez to the Mets because they thought Brazoban was even better. However, he’ll likely re-sign with LA, on a minor league deal. Probably not worth gambling on, unless the Mets are willing to be patient with his continued recovery.

Tim Redding

Interesting that the worst team in the NL is comfortable allowing their best starter test the waters, rather than pay him the paltry $3M or so he’ll get through arbitration. He’s not outstanding, but he’d be a nice fit at the back of the rotation. He didn’t miss a start in 2008.

Chris Capuano

The lefthander once showed great promise, but after two Tommy John surgeries and missing all of 2008, it’s hard to determine his value. He’s 28 years old, so there’s time to bounce back, but how long before the elbow goes again?

Chuck James

Another lefthanded starter who seemed to have a bright future but was befelled by serious injury (huh … so much for the value of pitch counts and babying pitchers, eh?). After going 11-4 with a 3.78 ERA as a rookie in 2006, James suffered a rotator cuff injury in late 2007 and hasn’t been the same since. He just turned 27 and still has time to make a comeback. The good thing going for him is that he was never a flamethrower, so a loss in velocity shouldn’t be too much of an adjustment.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Micalpalyn December 12, 2008 at 11:32 pm
    You get an incomplete as Reggie Ambercrombie AND TY WIGGINGTON are also non tendered.

    1. I think cabrera is worth a sniff. You spent to much time publicising him and as a #5 starter I think he has Ed Jackson written all over him. I think Ty would really inject some fire too. BUT i think we already have Wiggy lite in danny Murphy.

  2. isuzudude December 13, 2008 at 10:09 am
    Mic – what is with you and Edwin Jackson? The way you bring him up in every post would make one think he throws 100+ MPH and is the greatest pitching prospect this side of Doc.

    I want nothing to do with Cabrera. Again, have we not learned our lesson from having a pitching staff comprised of guys who compile 100 pitches by the 4th inning? Cabrera will do nothing but tax the bullpen and make fans pull out their hair due to his inconsistency. The only thing he has going for him is that he’d be cheap. Stash him away in AAA if you must, but please do not pencil this guy in to be next year’s #4/5 starter.

    I think Wigginton is the biggest name available – it’s just too bad the Mets don’t have a spot for him. He’s virtually Fernando Tatis, and we already re-signed him so what’s done is done. I’m sure teams with less financial capabilities who like Casey Blake will be lining up out the door to talk to Wigginton now. Dumb move by the ‘Stros.

    If not for Saito’s injury history, I think Omar would be all over him. But some team desperate enough for a closer will give him more money than he’s worth. He reminds me a lot of Shingo Takatsu (who was briefly a Met). A Japanese import who wowed the world at the beginning of his MLB career but was forced out of the game because of injuries. Agreed that Cordero is more likely to be Omar’s reclaimation project (along with O’Day).

    There are, however, other interesting pitchers who were non-tendered. Tim Redding would be a great, durable, cheap fit as the team’s #5 starter. I question how he would fare on a bigger stage, and wonder if he’d prefer to be someone else’s #1/#2 (Baltimore, Texas, Milwaukee) and get paid a whole helluva lot better, though. I brought up some names in another post who could replace Schoeneweis, like Tyler Johnson and Wilfredo Ledezma. Chris Britton has good stuff and always puts up some fancy numbers in the minors but never was given much of a chance by the Yankees. Joe Nelson is available again, someone I know you’ve been investigating for a while now, Joe. And as far as position players go, aside from Wiggy, Aaron Miles catches my eye as a great option as utilityman, but I also think he’ll be on the prowl for a starting job someplace too. Not a bad crop this year, and not sorely disappointed that the only 2 non-tenders the Mets had were Burgos and Argenis.

  3. joe December 13, 2008 at 11:52 am
    Mic – I don’t think the Mets are interested in Wiggy nor Abercrombie. Wiggy will likely go somewhere to play regularly, and his best position at this point is 3B. Yes he can play 2B and some OF, but only adequately. Maybe he could be a supersub, but my gut says he’ll hook up with someone for a regular job.

    Abercrombie is a RH-hitting Endy Chavez and doesn’t bring anything to the table that the Mets need right now.

    ‘dude – I didn’t see Nelson, Britton, and Miles when I typed up this post … they are intriguing.

  4. Micalpalyn December 14, 2008 at 10:38 pm
    isuzu: I regularly take a pasting from you, partly for the reasons u allude too….the tendency to wish for lightning in a bottle too often, but sometimes i get it right and so stick to my guns.

    a. Ed Jackson. I was going to let it rest but here is my arguement again.
    This just one example, just google Jackson and what u get would have u salivating. I see a fit. He IS a righty version of Ollie, and I DO NOT see him in Detroit. Rather that was a poor trade by Detroit if they cannot trade him. They have a bunch of young similar arms AND Joel Zumaya plus a Drontrelle Willis who is baseball’s version of AIG right now. I stand by my belief that Omar has amassed enough viable parts in Reed, Pootz, Scneider and Church to swing the trade HE wants. Edwin is LOW risk…as just like Pel last yr he turned a big corner and simply would just need to be a 5th starter but has top 3 ‘stuff’.

    b. Bullpen: I dont like Stokes yet in 2009. I think Bradford could still come back, I also think IF pootz is traded, there are set up guys out there. I have heard nothing on Hoffman, there is Saito (who turned down the Dodgers 2.5M offer) , Ayala, Isringhausen…among others. I agree on Joe Nelson too. Plus Detroit has other young arms. While Omar waits for the halos to sign Fuentes, he knows he can ask for the Moon on Putz who right now is a closer with a 8th inning job. Just MY theory.

    c. I think Cerrone is right too that Lowe could be had right now for a K-Rod contract. I DONT think Ollie is the best course of actionfor the same reasons that Scho and Aaron had to go. (btw: YOU must read Metstradamus’s latest).

    d. Agreed on some of your other musings.

  5. isuzudude December 15, 2008 at 1:26 pm
    Mic, I hope you know that I’m only tough on you because I hold you in such high standards. And I only call you out when I think you deserve it.

    That being said, I just don’t see why you think the Mets would want to trade the best setup man in baseball, and a top-10 closer on the right team, for a #4/5 starter in Ed Jackson. I agree that the Tigers could use the bullpen help, but If I’m giving up Putz I’d want Verlander in exchange, not Jackson. I don’t understand why you think acquiring Jackson is a poor trade for Detroit if you think he’s so good. Who cares if they have a bunch of similar arms? If Jackson is as good as you think, team’s should want to acquire as many Ed Jackson’s as they can. But you have to break it down this way. If the Tigers just gave up a questionable OF talent like Matt Joyce to get Jackson, why would it be wise for Omar to let Church or Putz loose for Jackson? Detroit would make out like a bandit and the Mets are left once again with a depleted bullpen. All of your alternatives to Putz leave a lot to be desired. Hoffman is no spring chicken and no one knows if he’s willing to setup. Saito is always hurt, as is Izzy, and Ayala is crap. Are you sure you’d prefer one of them and Jackson as your #4/5 rather than keeping Putz and re-signing Ollie or grabbing Randy Wolf? You yourself say Jackson is a right-handed Ollie, so besides dollar signs what is more attractive about Jackson than just bringing back Ollie? You say Edwin would be a low risk, but by giving up Church or Putz he becomes a high risk because of the price you had to buy him for.

    You need to envision Putz as an immovable object. He is not going anywhere. And with the thought of him and KRod at the back end of the bullpen, why would you want him to be?

  6. isuzudude December 20, 2008 at 11:08 am
    Apparantly Tim Redding is very open to the idea of being a Met.

    Firstly, I don’t know if I’m buying the act. What agent doesn’t want it to seem like his client is interested in joining a team with gobs of money in order to get other, more interested teams, to up their ante? We’ve seen this dance done a hundred times already, which is why I am weary of this statement. Surely Redding would rather take, for instance, a 2-yr, $18-mil contract to be the Orioles or Rangers #2 starter, than take a 1-yr, $5-mil contract to be the Mets #5.

    Which brings me to point #2: The Mets should not be desperate to sign Redding. I think if Ollie is re-signed, or if Lowe is brought in, or a miracle transpires and a Peavy trade is pulled off, the obvious #5 candidate should be Pedro. No, he may not give you 130 innings, and his ERA may be closer to 5 than 3, but his leadership and personality make him the most attractive #5 available, barnone. Plus he’d come aboard on a 1-yr, incentive laiden deal, and with a strong starting 4 ahead of him, it would not be ultra important to land a workhorse, all-star caliber pitcher to be the #5.

    And finally, what makes Redding so special anyway? I know I said I thought he would be “a great, durable, cheap fit,” but that’s only if he’s willing to accept a lesser role for a contender rather than a prominent role on a sideshow. And looking at Redding’s numbers, he’s not a jump-off-the-chart pitcher. It’s great he started 33 games last year and won 10 games on a bad team, but his ERA, WHIP, K-to-IP ratio, and 2nd half of the year numbers indicate that maybe he was a bit of a flash in the pan. IMHO, the Mets can and should do better.

  7. joe December 20, 2008 at 12:18 pm
    ‘dude, agreed on Redding. An agent would be insane not to say they’re considering a NY team. Just mentioning the Mets or Yankees immediately drives up the price by 30% or more.

    Also agreed on Pedro — I’ll take him for #5 over Redding any day of the week, for all the reasons you mention.

    What bothers me most about Redding is that he’s been garbage for most of his seven years in MLB — and even his “good” years are hardly to write home about. It’s like the fascination teams have with Adam Eaton and Josh Fogg — I just don’t get it. But as a final piece to the end of the rotation, on a reasonable, one-year deal? Fine.

    If the Mets “big” signing going forward is either Redding or Wolf, I’ll really have lost faith in the decision-makers in the front office.

  8. isuzudude December 21, 2008 at 11:01 am
    Also of note: Daniel Cabrera signs a guaranteed $2.6-mil contract to pitch for Washington. That’s way more money and job security I think any of us wanted to give to Cabrera to compete for the #5 spot. Glad Omar passed here, and hoping he also steers clear of Tim Redding.
  9. joe December 21, 2008 at 12:26 pm
    ‘dude, have to disagree. One year and $2.6M seems pretty cheap to me for a guy who is only 27 and is in a similar place as Ollie Perez circa 2006.

    Think about what the Mets paid for guys who pitched one inning or less, like Guillermo Mota and Scott Schoeneweis. Maybe these are better comps — pitchers who were on one-year deals in 2008: Jon Lieber, $3.5M; Jason Jennings, $4M; Livan Hernandez, $5M; Bartolo Colon, $1.25M + incentives; Shawn Chacon, $2M; Steve Trachsel, $1.5M.

    Similarly, Chan Ho Park just got $2.5M, and Redding is going to get a heckuva lot more plus a multiyear deal.

    I agree Cabrera is not someone you count on to be an ace, but giving up less than $3M and only one year to roll the dice on a guy to compete for the #5 spot, and who has wicked stuff like he has is definitely reasonable. Maybe not the bargain of the year, but reasonable considering the market.

  10. isuzudude December 21, 2008 at 12:57 pm
    Obviously I must see Cabrera in a different light. The only fair comparison I see to Ollie is inconsistency. I don’t know how “wicked” Cabrera’s stuff can be if he only struck out 95 in 180 innings last year, unless you’re using the word as a derrogatory adjective rather than complimentary. Also, Ollie already had a much stronger resume than Cabrera at this stage of his career, having established at least one season with an ERA under 3, WHIP under 1.20, and strikeout total over 200. Cabrera hasn’t come anywhere close to any of those accomplishments. I think to give anything more than a minor league contract to a guy like Cabrera would be a bad move for the Mets. But if you persist in believing Cabrera’s potential could top out at Oliver Perez, than there’s no way we’re going to see eye to eye.

    Much hinges on what becomes of the Ollie/Lowe/Sheets sweepstakes, but if one of those 3 signs with the Mets, the best deal Omar could strike for a #5 starter would be giving Pedro a 1-yr, $5-mil contract with incentives built in. And despite his fragility, eroding talent, and more expensive pricetag, I’d take him in heartbeat over Cabrera any day. Even so, I’d likely be much more inclined to give a guarenteed 25-man roster spot and first crack at the #5 rotation spot to any one of a dozen available free agent pitchers over Cabrera. He is this offseason’s Jason Jennings, and you might remember how strongly opposed I was to the idea of bringing Jennings to Queens. The future may prove me wrong if Cabrera excels with Washington, but if I were GM, he’d be close to last on my winter wish list.

  11. joe December 21, 2008 at 2:22 pm
    ‘dude, have you ever seen Cabrera pitch, or going just on the stats? Most days, he’s as scary or scarier than Ollie on a bad day. Other days, he’s unhittable. He’s a big, gangly guy who often looks uncoordinated, like he’s still trying to figure out how to use his body. HIs issue is control and confidence … he was someone who needed to be in the minors for 3-4 years. A change of location, a new set of eyes guiding him … who knows? Something might just click and he’ll put it all together — much the way we saw Pelfrey did this past year … Randy Johnson didn’t “get it” until he was 26 and was traded to Seattle. It’s a gamble. With gambles, you usually lose. There’s a 75-90% chance Cabrera will continue to be an eternal enigma. But not many human beings have his physical gifts, so laying down $2.6M, to me, in this day and age, isn’t a terrible idea.

    But looking at it from a different perspective, the Nats are a better fit for Cabrera — they don’t “have to” win, and can take gambles on guys like him. The Mets need to make sure they have some consistency throughout the rotation. I’m in agreement with you on Pedro, have been so from the get-go. But I’m not certain the Mets are going to go that route. If they are, why are they piddling around? They can sign Pedro today and be done with it. It’s maddening. If they end up giving Tim Redding a two-year deal I’m going to scream.

  12. Micalpalyn December 22, 2008 at 12:17 pm
    Joe’s last post really nails it. cabrera to me is the better option in termws of skills. I also see him as Ollie but he has not had ANY consistency. I think the Mets could give that to him, but ala Ollie he would have to work it out at AAA. In the Nats he has a team that can give him a year.

    as for the FA pool …pass. I am sorry but Lowe is nothing more than a steve Trachsel. His 14 wins are…..Steve Trachsel. I agree with one Metsblogger who said he is a #3, A good #3, but NOT a #2 which we NEED. I again allude to last yr….especially late when Santana guaranteed a win, but whoever was next was a toss up (last day of the season 2008/ 3rd to last day 2007 ?)…. Ollie is still not a 10M pitcher…nevermind 15M. But we cant just plug with Freddy Garcia. Redding IS a poor mans steve Trachsel. He will give innings at relatively low cost….in fact I’ll argue he could do as well as Derek Lowe. That said we can replace Ollie (with the picks) and trade for a starter. AS Omar has said he like pitchers coming off down yrs….whose stock is more down than Dontrelle’s…….if not him the Nate Robertson…..providing Peavy is not available.

  13. joe December 22, 2008 at 1:19 pm
    Mic, I’m not sure I agree with your comparison of Lowe to Trax. I think Lowe has a lot more going for him — most significantly, the ability to get past the fifth inning.

    Trax was a guy with mediocre stuff who threw a lot of pitches, many of them high in the zone, gave up lots of fly balls, and was worn out by the middle of the fifth. About two or three times a season, his curve would be breaking sharply and he’d get past the sixth. Otherwise, he was like BP.

    Lowe, on the other hand, regularly pitches through the 6th, is a sinkerballer and therefore gets groundouts. But as you state, he is a solid #3, nothing more.

    As for that link, how long has Bill Price been blogging for the Daily News? Strange we’ve never linked to him before. I went through his recent posts, and in one of them he lists Ricardo Rincon as a worse Met than Kenny Rogers. Hmmm … I’ll let you be the judge ….

  14. isuzudude December 22, 2008 at 2:35 pm
    Mic, you have lost your marbles. Lowe is no better than Trachsel? What world are you living in???

    In the last 7 seasons, Lowe has won 14 or more games 5 times, he’s pitched 200 or more innings 5 times, he’s started at least 30 games all 7 times, and he’s had an ERA under 4.00 5 times. That is the model of success and consistency.
    Conversely, in his ENTIRE 16 YEAR CAREER, Trachsel had 14 or more wins 3 times, pitched 200 or more innings 7 times, started at least 30 games 9 times, and had an ERA under 4.00 a measly 3 times.
    There is no argument here, Mic. Lowe is in a different stratosphere than Trachsel. Not to mention the two are completely opposite in how they collect their outs (one flyball, one groundball). That is why Lowe is allowed to ask for $15-$18 million per season. He might not get that amount, but his past performance prooves he might be worth it. If Trachsel had ever asked for between $15-$18 million per season at any point of his career, he’d be the laughing stock of sports.

    Sometimes I wonder if you just like to say zany things to get our attention.

    Lowe may be nothing more than a solid #3, but the same thing can be said for Pelfrey and Maine. So if Lowe is signed, you have one of the best aces in baseball leading the staff with 3 solid #3’s behind him. I take that rotation in a heartbeat. Additionally, if you think both Lowe and Tim Redding compare to Steve Trachsel, check back to last season or stay tuned for next season and see who winds up with the better overall numbers. It wasn’t and it won’t be Redding, my friend. I really can’t understand for the life of me why you develop these obsessions with bottom-feeding pitchers (Edwin Jackson, Daniel Cabrera, Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis) and would rather the Mets collect a whole bunch of scrubs and pray one of them pulls a 180 rather than just go after the prize and feel comfortable in knowing you’re going to get close to 15 wins and 200 innings from Lowe or Ollie, or a 2.25 ERA from Putz.

  15. Micalpalyn December 22, 2008 at 4:48 pm
    Dude’ Lost my marbles a while back. 2 many wars, marriages and collapses.

    I beg 2 differ on LOwe but I DO reason that Lowe ala Burnett, (who I would have gone after), might only have one 200 inning season out of the next 3. Lowe is not the prize though. ….Then again i could be wrong. Oh and my last obsession…Ollie worked out. he went from a 2M pitcher to a 15M pitcher…after 2 yrs at Shea, when most thought of him as a 2)M dollar arm and 2cent head. ….so lets stay tuned.

  16. Micalpalyn December 22, 2008 at 4:49 pm
    PS: If we do sign Lowe I hope he is as good as your synposis/ introduction.
  17. isuzudude December 23, 2008 at 9:00 am
    If Lowe is not the prize of the remaining available pitchers who would give the Mets the best bang for their buck, I would be interested to know who you think would be.