Monday is a very important day on the MLB offseason calendar. It is the day all 30 teams must decide whether to tender their pre-arbitration and arbitration-eligible players a contract for the 2020 season. They don't have to sign them before Monday, but they do at least have to make a contract offer. Players who do not receive an offer are considered non-tendered and become free agents.
R.J. Anderson has already looked at eight notable players who could be non-tendered Monday. Now we're going to look at five players who could be traded before Monday's 8 p.m. ET deadline. These are players who may be deemed too pricey by their current team, but could still be considered a reasonable investment by another club. The non-tender deadline always brings a few trades.
The five players are listed alphabetically and note that projected 2020 salaries come from MLB Trade Rumors. Away we go.
R.J. and I don't disagree often, but we do disagree about Bradley. The Red Sox center fielder is maddeningly inconsistent at the plate, we can certainly agree on that, but he is an outstanding defender at an up-the-middle position and capable of 15-20 homers, and I think that makes him worth his projected $11 million salary rather than a non-tender candidate. Boston is trying to trim payroll and Bradley is an obvious piece to move. The bet here is new baseball operations head Chaim Boom can find a trade partner (Diamondbacks? Indians? Mets? Phillies? White Sox?) rather than let Bradley go for nothing at Monday's non-tender deadline.
For the past five seasons Hernandez has been a steady supplier of on-base percentage and defense at second base, the lesser of the two middle infield spots. He is projected to make $11.8 million in 2020 and that might be tough to swallow considering his lack of power, especially since the Phillies can easily plug Scott Kingery in at second base. Hernandez will hit free agency next winter and enough teams need a second base stopgap (D-Backs, Indians, Nationals, Padres, Rockies, White Sox, etc.) that Philadelphia may be able to net a prospect in a trade before letting him slip away for nothing as a non-tender.
A year ago non-tendering Shaw would've been unthinkable. But, after a disastrous 2019 season that saw him spend nearly two months in Triple-A, the 29-year-old is very much on the chopping block. The way I see it, Shaw has three things going for him. One, you needn't look back far to see the last time he was an above-average hitter. The guy did swat 63 homers from 2017-18, after all. Two, MLB is adding a 26th roster spot next season, making it easier to carry a player like Shaw as a spare corner infield bench bat. NL teams always need a lefty with pop for pinch-hitting purposes. And three, Shaw's projected $4.7 million salary is not that much. That's about what NL bench guys like David Freese and Matt Adams made in 2019. An NL club could step forward and send the Brewers a prospect for Shaw prior to Monday's deadline.
Similar to Shaw, non-tendering Treinen would've been unthinkable a year ago. He was utterly dominant in 2018, arguably the best closer in the game, but a rough 2019 season and a projected $7.8 million salary have put him in the non-tender conversation this offseason. The free-agent reliever market is thin -- the only unsigned relievers on our top 50 free agents list are Dellin Betances, who was hurt pretty much all season, and Will Harris -- and contending clubs looking to bolster their bullpen figure to give the Athletics a call prior to Monday's deadline, if they haven't already. We know the Yankees after after Treinen. The Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Mets, Phillies, and Twins all make sense as potential landing spots as well.
Rumor has it the Marlins have been open to trading Urena for more than a year now. He battled injuries and ineffectiveness in 2019, but turned in back-to-back seasons as a league average starter in 2017-18, and his projected $4 million salary for next year is not exorbitant. It is for the Marlins, I guess, but not most teams. Even with his reputation for being a hothead, the guess here is several clubs would be willing to roll the dice on Urena next season given the relatively low salary. If it doesn't work out, they can move him to the bullpen, or even eat the money and release him. If it does work out though, the team would also control Urena as an arbitration-eligible player in 2021. Guys who throw a high-90s sinker always seem to get another chance.