Will Dodgers Non-Tender Any Contracts Before Friday’s Deadline?

(Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers)

Another one of those important winter deadlines has suddenly crept upon us. On Friday, November 30, the Dodgers must decide if they wish to tender 2019 contracts to any or all of their 10 arbitration-eligible players.

Theoretically, there’s a legitimate shot that all 10 are offered a deal; however, whether or not those players accept the terms is a different story. Should any of the cases linger on through the winter, the Dodgers are one of the most successful clubs in terms of negotiating, so the chances of a case hitting the arbitration room are very thin. Still, chances exist for a player(s) to be non-tendered and thrown into the winter’s free agent market.

The five position players who are arbitration eligible are Corey Seager, Yasiel Puig, Joc Pederson, Chris Taylor and Enrique Hernandez—all of whom are basically guaranteed contracts, for all intents and purposes.

The five pitchers are Pedro Baez, Alex Wood, Tony Cingrani, Josh Fields and Yimi Garcia. There are a few arms in this group which are a little more difficult to justify. Baez and Wood are virtual locks, but Cingrani, Fields and Garcia are lingering question marks.

It’s hard to say what the club will decide. If basing the determinations on ceilings and potential alone, I think all three have reasonable shots of being given deals. In spite of that, based on all the information available at the moment, it’s impossible to know where each player is health-wise and mechanically. All three pitchers were rehabbing from injuries towards the end of the 2018 regular season, and while the entire trio did indeed make big league appearances during the stretch run, all three were omitted from the postseason rosters.

One factor the organization may consider—if the club is indeed payroll conscientious—is how much the player could conceivably be awarded should the case hit arbitration. Cingrani earned $2.3 million last year while Fields made $2.2 million—both significant sums for pitchers who spent the majority of the year on the shelf. Garcia earned just $630K last year, which seems affordable, but he was one of the players in danger of being non-tendered at this time last year.

Garcia was always touted for his exceptional spin rate, but he has yet to put the entire puzzle together. The 28-year-old righty missed all of the 2017 season after Tommy John surgery, but posted a 5.64 ERA over 25 appearances in his return last year.

Cingrani, 29, appeared to have rediscovered himself and his slider after being dealt to the Dodgers from Cincinnati at the non-waiver deadline in 2017, but shoulder problems were his demise last season. Overall, the lefty made 30 appearances, registering a 4.76 ERA and a 1.103 WHIP in 2018.

The hard-throwing Fields was also a victim of shoulder problems and was shut down for the entirety of July and August. In total, the 33-year-old right-hander made 45 appearances last year and posted a 2.20 ERA, a 3.62 FIP and a 7.2 K/9 over an even 41 innings of work. His 2018 K/9 rate was the lowest of his big league career.

My best guess is that all 10 players will be tendered a contract before tomorrow’s deadline, but if there’s one who could be non-tendered, it may be Garcia.

As it stands now, the Los Angeles 40-man roster is full.


12 thoughts on “Will Dodgers Non-Tender Any Contracts Before Friday’s Deadline?

  1. I can see a scenario where Josh Fields could be non-tendered because of his projected arbitration salary of $2.3MM. Yimi Garcia at $900K is a minimal risk. I cannot see LHRP Tony Cingrani being non-tendered. I can only see three LHRP breaking camp with LA; Scott Alexander, Caleb Ferguson, and Tony Cingrani. I do not anticipate Alex Wood still being with LAD, McCreery is not close to being ready, and Urias is undoubtedly heading to extended ST and/or OKC to start. It has also been suggested by Friedman that Ferguson is still considered a starting pitcher and may also be headed back to OKC to lengthen out.

    I agree that all 10 will be tendered. I cannot believe that a potential $2.3MM arbitration salary will make the Dodgers non-tender Fields. If he is later a victim of DFA he will not clear waivers (nor would Garcia). I do not see a down side to all 10 being tendered.

    One other consideration is that the Dodgers and Indians are moving towards a possible trade. Both teams may want to consummate the deal before tomorrow, and depending on the number of 40 man involved, that could influence the decision. Probably not, but it could.

    1. Was just stepping in to defend Yimi, but I believe jef covered it all, and did so better than I could.

      If Fields checks out physically he’s worth retaining. Yes on everyone else. There are some impressive arms in that group.

  2. Hey jef I hear on radio the Dodgers made an offer to Garrett Richards, along with the Cleveland rumors that you just mentioned, which way do you guys think the team is headed. We have six major league pitchers on the roster, plus Urias, stripp, Ferguson, and Stewart, for depth. Looks to me somebody has to be on the move. Theories anyone?

    1. Garrett Richards will not pitch next year, so he is at least a 2 year contract. His surgery was July 24 so he will end up in Arizona at the end of the year to build back up and be ready for 2020 when Hill, Ryu, and Wood are gone.

      I doubt that Wood is on the roster in Spring, and I would love to have a front of the rotation of Buehler/Kershaw/Kluber with Hill/Ryu as #4 & #5. That puts Maeda and Stripling back in the pen. Stewart is out of options so he will be moved in some transaction. Urias and Ferguson (with Santana) will probably start at OKC depending on what other changes happen. If Ferguson is convinced that relief is a viable life at the ML level he may stay in the pen. But if he wants to start, it will be at OKC so he can continue to work on that 3rd pitch. Friedman has suggested that Ferguson is still considered a starter.

  3. Padres just signed Richards, plus I forgot he had surgery, Duh. Still wonder who would be on the move, if they make a deal with Cleveland.

    1. Good signing for the Pads. By the time he’s ready to go in 2020 they’ll actually have a pretty good team on the field. If they manage to get Syndergaard from the Mets, they could turn out to be our biggest division competitors in 2020.

      1. Yeah, the Padres are on the move. They are going to be competitive and soon.

        Ferguson in Oklahoma? I had him on the 25 man. But, a month to build his rotational brawnabilty and then bring him up.

        If we don’t trade for a legit front of the order then Maeda is in the rotation again and we will do the same 10 day hot tub circumvolution come summer. I agree that Wood will be moved. Back to Atlanta for 2 strong prospects to be used for a STBNL. (that’s a Scoopronym for “stud to be named later”)

  4. why do we think the padres are on the move? they apparently have a good farm system but that rarely results in a
    pennant winner or even a contender. In the past ten years i can only think of houston, chicago and maybe the yanks and chicago seems to be a one year wonder. Im not much on prospects and farm systems unless the team is consistent over years and the padres have been anything but that. The sucess rate of first rounders is dismal over the years and to have a whole team of prospects graduate and be sucessful as a group never happens.

    1. They’re young. They have a stacked farm system. Without any moves they project to win 11 more games than they did in ‘18. If they were to add a player like Syndergaard they could win 81. From 66 to 81 with a farm system like theirs tells me they could be competitive soon. It must tell you something different. Guess we’ll see.

  5. Well tomorrow we will see if they non tender anyone. Small trades still being made and looks like 1 big one about to go down between the Mets and Mariners. Cano and Diaz look like they will be heading to NY. Bruce and 3 prospects back to the Mariners. Angels get Lastella from the Cubs. Expendable since they got Torreyes the other day from the Yanks.

  6. Seems like maeda and his contract would be more valuable in a trade than sticking him in the bull pen, if we acquire another starter. Latest talk has Puig being mentioned in kluber talks. I’m sure he’s just part of a bigger package, it’s good to see Andrew swinging for the fences, hope he has the proper launch angle.

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