Major League Baseball and the players’ association have mutually agreed to move up the tender/non-tender deadline from Dec. 2 to Nov. 30 at 8:00 PM ET as the CBA expiration looms.
Any player on a team’s current 40-man roster that has less than six years of service time and is either pre-arbitration or arbitration-eligible has to be tendered a contract. If a club decides to not tender a contract to a player, they immediately hit the open market as free agents. Typically, players due to receive raises through arbitration are the most likely players to get non-tendered, but pre-arbitration players can be as well.
Looking at the Pirates, they began the offseason with 11 arbitration-eligible players but that list has shrunk after Chasen Shreve and Wilmer Difo were outrighted and granted free agency. Michael Perez was designated for assignment, so the list could become seven once his situation is resolved.
The Pirates have quite a few arbitration-eligible players who could be considered non-tender candidates to various degrees. Among the players with the greatest chances to be non-tendered? Chad Kuhl, Colin Moran, Steven Brault and Kevin Newman. On the flip side, Ben Gamel should be safe and Bryan Reynolds, Jacob Stallings and Chris Stratton surely are.
For the league, could this be another indication that a work stoppage looms? If the parties involved felt confident that at this stage a deal would get done prior to the expiration date, a move like this would not have been necessary. The expectation is that a lockout of sorts will happen and this could be another clue to add to that.
By moving up the tender/non-tender deadline, those players who get non-tendered will know their fate as opposed to being mired in uncertainty until a new CBA is done. Additionally, some of these players who wind up on the free agent market could quickly sign a new contract with another team while the league is still allowing roster moves, so next week could be action-packed.