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Some non-tendered names of note

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Several dozen players became free agents yesterday after being non-tendered

Texas Rangers v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Yesterday was the deadline for tendering contracts to players on the 40 man roster, and 56 players became free agents by virtue of being non-tendered by their current team.

There are some obscure names and some interesting names, and I figured I’d highlight a few of those who I felt were worthy of note.

KEVIN GAUSMAN

A victim of the #4 overall pick curse. Gausman went 4th to the Baltimore Orioles in 2012, and though he appeared to have broken out in 2016, his fortunes have declined since. He put up a 2.87 ERA for Atlanta in 2018 after being traded to the Braves by the Orioles, but had a 6.19 ERA for them in 2019 before he was shipped to Cincy, who used him out of the bullpen.

The 2018 or 2019 Rangers would have interest in Gausman as a reclamation project who could fill one of their empty rotation spots. The 2020 Rangers aren’t really a fit.

KEVIN PILLAR

I saw some expressions of surprise yesterday that the San Francisco Giants non-tendered Pillar, who finished in a tie for 22nd in the 2019 N.L. MVP balloting with Max Scherzer. The conventional view is that Pillar is a quality center fielder with some pop, and even with him expected to get a raise from the $5.8M he made in 2019 in what will be his final year of arbitration eligibility, he’s someone you’d think would be worth having around.

The reality is that Pillar is a low OBP guy (career slash of .261/.296/.405) who was a really good defensive outfielder earlier in his career, but who has been average with the glove in center field the past couple of seasons. Pillar profiles as more of a second-division regular or bench guy than as a starter at this point.

Could the Rangers have interest in him? Maybe, I guess, though I don’t know that he represents an upgrade over Delino DeShields in center field, and since he and Delino both hit righty, he’s not a platoon option.

AARON SANCHEZ

You may recall that there was a certain amount of angst over the Houston Astros getting Sanchez and Joe Biagini from the Toronto Blue Jays last summer in exchange for Derek Fisher. The thinking was that the Astros would unlock Sanchez’s untapped potential, and they’d have another Gerrit Cole — or at least a mid-rotation starter — that they picked up for little.

Instead, Sanchez’s shoulder injury limited him to four outings for the Astros. With Sanchez having undergone shoulder surgery and his prognosis for 2020 being in question, the Astros apparently didn’t feel investing several million in him was a good use of resources.

ADDISON RUSSELL

A former top prospect whose play has regressed significantly and who has a domestic violence suspension on his record. We shall see who chooses to take the p.r. hit in order to roll the dice on getting him back on track.

JUNIOR GUERRA

I wanted the Rangers to get him a few years ago for their rotation. He pitched out of the bullpen for Milwaukee last year. Another guy who would have made some sense for the 2018 or 2019 Rangers as a potential rotation piece, but not the 2020 Rangers.

JOSH PHEGLEY

He’s a catcher. The Rangers might want a catcher.

JOHN RYAN MURPHY

He’s a catcher. The Rangers might want a catcher.

KEVIN PLAWECKI

He’s a catcher. The Rangers might want a catcher.

CALEB JOSEPH

He’s a catcher. The Rangers might want a catcher.

DOMINGO SANTANA

Santana has a career .259/.343/.453 slash line with a 111 OPS+, including a .253/.329/.441 108 OPS+ in 2019. He’s also a brutal defender in the outfield. He was originally sent from Philly to Houston as part of the package for Hunter Pence, then went to Milwaukee along with Adrian Houser, Brett Phillips and (ouch) Josh Hader for Mike Fiers and Carlos Gomez. The Brewers shipped him off to Seattle last December.

Santana seems like the kind of guy who would be best served going to Japan and winning a few home run titles. He’s a righthanded bat, so he could potentially be of interest to a team that needs a COF/DH platoon guy on the bench, though I think the Rangers would try to bring Hunter Pence back before they’d go after Santana if they wanted someone in that role.

TAIJUAN WALKER and JIMMY NELSON

Both well regarded high-upside starting pitchers whose careers were de-railed by arm injuries. Two more guys who the 2018 or 2019 Rangers would have had interest in, but who seem to be poor fits for the 2020 Rangers, assuming Texas doesn’t simply whiff on every other available starting pitcher on the market.

ALEX CLAUDIO

Less than a year after the Rangers traded him to Milwaukee for a compensatory draft pick that turned into Davis Wendzel, Alex Claudio has been non-tendered. As a lefty who can go multiple innings, I could see the Rangers having interest in him on a minor league deal. He’s the sort of soft-tossing gimmick guy that is always going to have a short rope.

BLAKE TREINEN

A cautionary tale on the unpredictable nature of relievers. Blake Treinen was really good for the Nationals in 2016, was bad for them in 2017, got sent to Oakland mid-season where he was really good for the A’s the rest of the year, and then had a historically great 2018, putting up a 0.78 ERA and a 4.2 bWAR in 80.1 IP over 68 games. Treinen then fell apart in 2019, logging a 4.91 ERA and a 5.14 FIP in 58.2 IP.

He could be great again in 2020. Or he could be toast. Who knows?

MAIKEL FRANCO

A once heralded third base prospect who never could get it together. The Phillies finally cut bait on him. If the Rangers were in rebuilding mode, maybe they’d take a look at him as a reclamation project. As it is, they have their sights on bigger fish for the hot corner.

JOSE PERAZA

Peraza had a solid 2018 season, putting up a .288/.326/.416 slash line while playing shortstop for the Reds, and doesn’t turn 26 until April. He hasn’t hit enough in his career for you to feel confident in him as a regular, but he would seem to have some value as a versatile utility guy. If the Rangers wanted to make Danny Santana a starter somewhere, Peraza could be of interest to them as a utility infielder.

TRAVIS SHAW

Shaw put up a 2.4 bWAR for the Red Sox in 2016, then 3.9 and 4.1 for the Brewers in 2017 and 2018. For whatever reason, in 2019, he fell apart, slashing .157/.281/.270. He’s a lefthanded hitting third baseman who turns 30 in April, and if the Rangers miss out on the top options at third base, they could take a look at him, I guess. But it would be disappointing if Shaw were the Rangers’ big position player move this offseason.

STEVEN SOUZA

Souza turns 31 in April, missed all of 2019 with a torn ACL, and missed much of 2018 while slashing .220/.309/.369 for the Diamondbacks.

The Diamondbacks got Souza in a complicated three-way deal in February, 2018, that saw the Tampa Bay Rays (who acquired Souza from Washington in the three-way deal that sent Wil Myers to San Diego and Trea Turner to the Nationals) pick up Nick Solak from the Yankees and Colin Poche, Sam McWilliams and Anthony Banda from the D-Backs. That worked out well for Tampa.

Souza only has one good season in the majors, that 2017 season where he put up a 4.1 bWAR and slashed .239/.351/.459, after which the Rays sold high on him. He’s a righthanded corner outfielder with a ton of swing and miss and a .233/.323/.417 career slash line. He will get a minor league deal from someone, and try to get his career back on track.