A Look at the Non-Tenders

The free agent pool got a little bigger this week as teams decided to not tender contracts to some of their pre-free agency players.

As the St. Louis Cardinals still look to revamp their starting rotation and add an impact bat, the pool from which to search for players grew this week with the non-tender deadline.  Teams had to tender contracts to their players that are still not eligible for free agency or allow them to hit the open market.  The Cardinals have had recent success going this route; it is where they found 2006 World Series MVP David Eckstein. 


At first glance, there were a few interesting names to consider. Chad Gaudin was a name that immediately caught my eye but he had only 66 strikeouts compared to 49 walks in 2007.  So upon further review, the list did get much shorter rather quickly.  There is no impact bat on this list but a few arms that could be worth taking a look at. 


Here are a few of the more interesting names.


Mark Prior - Chicago Cubs


Prior's one exceptional season (2003) seems a long time ago.  That year he posted 18 victories for the Cubs.  He has only 18 total victories since.  Prior will probably not be ready until mid-season and with Carpenter out for most of the season and Mark Mulder's status uncertain, it really doesn't make a lot of sense for the Cardinals.  But there is a part of me that would love for the Cardinals to take a chance and if all the planets align, really stick it to the Cubs. 


Dallas McPherson - Los Angeles Angels


Once upon a time, McPherson was one of the premier prospects in baseball.  But injury issues including back trouble have put his career on hold.  Over the past three seasons, McPherson has appeared in only 117 games at the big league level.  When healthy, McPherson possesses a solid left-handed bat and a good glove at third.  With Scott Rolen's status uncertain, McPherson could be a high-upside, low-risk signing. 


Mark HendricksonLos Angeles Dodgers


With an overpriced free agent market, Hendrickson could be an interesting pick up.  Hendrickson has really struggled during his time in L.A.  But he posted double digit wins in 2004 and 2005 with a really bad Tampa Bay team in the always-tough American League East.  He does induce quite a few groundballs, something for which the Cardinals are always on the lookout. 


Jason Tyner - Minnesota Twins


With the recent departure of Jim Edmonds, Tyner could be an interesting insurance policy if the kids struggle.  The former first-round pick put together a very good 2007 season in a part-time role for the Twins, hitting .286/.331/.355.  Tyner does not provide much power but does provide plenty of speed on the basepaths. 


Josh Towers - Toronto Blue Jays


Towers has always pitched in the American League East so a move to the National League Central may be a welcome change.  The 30-year-old doesn't walk many as well as not allowing many home runs.  Admittedly, Towers will not overwhelm anyone, but he may be as good as it gets for a team unwilling to overspend.


Mike O'Connor - Washington Nationals


Once a well-regarded prospect, O'Connor's struggles with command hurt him during his only big league action in 2006. He had elbow surgery at the end of that season and was then knocked around in his rehab assignment at Double-A.   But he is only 27, has a quality left-handed arm, and may respond favorably to the teachings of Dave Duncan and Dyar Miller. 


Darren Clarke - Colorado Rockies


The 26-year-old has an extensive injury history during his tenure in the Rockies' system.  The career minor leaguer made his big league debut in 2007.  Clarke has a big 6-foot-8 frame to go along with a mid-90s fastball and put away slider.  He did not make his debut in 2007 until May and got a four-day audition in Colorado in which he pitched 1.1 scoreless innings.  Clarke may be worth a minor league contract while trying catch lightning in a bottle. 


Matt DeSalvo - New York Yankees


After almost making the team out of spring training in 2006, DeSalvo imploded in stops with Triple-A and Double-A Trenton.  DeSalvo bounced back with a solid performance in Triple-A in 2007 but did struggle during his return to the big leagues, posting an ERA over six to go along with 18 walks compared to 10 strikeouts. He doesn't have a real live fastball but does possess a superb changeup and the ability to change speeds and work quickly.  Sounds like much more of a fit for the National League.


Darrell Rasner - New York Yankees


Darrell Rasner opened the 2007 season in the big leagues, was sent Triple-A, then returned to the majors only to suffer a fractured index finger in his sixth outing. The injury required surgery and Rasner was gone for the season.  Rasner uses a low-90s fastball to consistently get ahead of batters, enabling him to go to his solid-average curveball and change.  Like some of the others on this list, Rasner may just need to get out of the American League East. 



Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at dustin@whiteyball.com.


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