Non-Tendered Targets

Yesterday, teams had to decide if they would offer contracts to all their arbitration-eligible players. This is a different group from players who could file for free agency, such as Adrian Beltre. The Mariners non-tendered one player, Ryan Langerhans. Any non-tendered player hits the free agent market, with no compensatory draft picks attached. I hope Langerhans lands somewhere, because he's an awfully good asset to have stashed away on the bench.

I love the non-tendered batch of free agents for a couple reasons. First, they are often younger players than traditional free agents. Since they were only arbitration eligible, they have only three to five years of MLB experience. Second, they are cheap. A player is most typically non-tendered when a team decides they are not worth the raise they would likely earn in arbitration.

A total of 39 players were non-tendered, flooding an already crowded market. Two players pop out to me as good fits for the Mariners:

Chien-Ming Wang, RHP - His struggles last year are well documented, and a couple of major injuries over the past couple years make him a risk. However, there are several reasons to think Wang can bounce back and be productive. First of all, Wang has never relied on velocity, so if he has permanently lost some, it does not take away what has made him successful. Perhaps, since he features a heavy sinker, he could be an even more extreme ground ball pitcher. Furthermore, he is only 30 years old, making him 3-4 years younger than other free agent options. I'd rather sink a couple million into Wang, even with his problems, than five or six million (or more) in a guy like Joel Pineiro.

Kelly Johnson, 2B/OF - For a long time I've had an irrational interest in Johnson, so I might as well be up front with that. There is no doubt he had a rough 2009 campaign as he lost time to injuries, and in the process his starting gig to Martin Prado. It's not a shocker that he was non-tendered. However, Kelly is only 28 years old, possesses good plate discipline, is a left-handed bat with some gap power, and plays second base and left field (even a good left field based on his limited opportunities). Offensively and defensively, Johnson fits some M's needs.

One guy I wouldn't touch at all is Jack Cust. He's a lefty with power, so rumors will inevitably fly. However, his defense limits him to DH. His hitting has declined the past three years, and I would expect that trend to continue.