If you're gonna talk about non-tenders, it's hard not to talk about the Marlins at some point. I mean, they're pretty much the kings of arbitration, constantly putting up large arbitration-eligible classes each offseason. This year's class is no different, with a total of 11 players that must be tendered a contract or non-tendered by the late November deadline. We'll do today's Bring Him Back in sections rather than simply going player-by-player, although that certainly doesn't mean that any players will be ignored.
For those of you who missed earlier installments or simply need a refresher, here are some quick explanations of the arbitration system, non-tenders, service time, and "Super Twos" for those who aren't totally familiar, courtesy of MLBTR.
As I noted before, we're mixing it up with Florida's post compared to the others- instead of doing each player ordered by their 2010 salary, the players have been divided up into sections. That way nobody has to sit around and think too much about Mike Rivera or Burke Badenhop. So, yeah. Let's dive in as we look forward to the next round of the postseason.
THEY'LL DEFINITELY BE BACK...
2B Dan Uggla - 3rd season of arbitration - Tender, raise from $7.8M
RHP Ricky Nolasco - 3rd season of arbitration - Tender, raise from $3.8M
RHP Leo Nunez - 2nd season of arbitration - Tender, raise from $2M
RHP Anibal Sanchez - 2nd season of arbitration - Tender, raise from $1.25M
RHP Clay Hensley - 2nd season of arbitration - Tender, raise from $0.425M
These are four of Florida's best players, and they're sure to be tendered contracts. The bigger question isn't whether Florida will tender them, but rather if they'll trade any of these guys.
Uggla, 31 in March, will likely make around $10M in 2011, although he's seeking a long-term contract that would make him one of the most well-paid players in Marlins history. Florida probably won't give it to him given his age and already shaky defensive work at second base, but it's tough to deny that he's one of the best-hitting middle infielders in baseball. A second baseman that can give you 30-35 homers with a .350-.360 on-base percentage is obviously a unique player, so the Marlins should find significant interest if they're willing to trade Uggla.
The Marlins also have a pretty interesting case with Nolasco, who's put up some remarkable K/BB ratios of the past three seasons: 4.43, 4.43 and 4.45, respectively. But a tendency to give up the longball has prevented Nolasco from emerging as the elite starter that his strikeout and walk numbers suggest he should be, as evidenced by his 4.81 ERA over the past two seasons. But his K/BB was the third-best in baseball among pitchers with 150+ innings pitched this year, and he could seriously break out with better luck on BABIP and HR/FB. He's a lock to be tendered, but it's hard to see Florida giving him a lucrative long-term deal until he can sustain an ERA that's as impressive as his peripherals.
Nunez, Sanchez and Hensley are three talented pitchers who finally turned in fantastic seasons this year. Nunez came over to Florida in exchange for Mike Jacobs two years ago (heh) and turned in a dominant 2010 as the team's closer after struggling somewhat in 2009. Sanchez struggled to stay healthy in the preceding few seasons but finally managed to put together a nearly full campaign in 2010, putting up a 3.55 ERA in 195 innings. Hensley was a solid starter for the Padres in 2006 but struggled with the club in 2007 and 2008 before spending 2009 playing for Florida's Triple-A club. He nearly won a spot in Florida's rotation this spring, but ended up in the bullpen and put up a 2.16 ERA, so things worked out nicely there. After Nunez and Sanchez combined to put up 154 innings of replacement level pitching while Hensley was in Triple-A last year, they were a combined 7.3 wins above replacement this season. These guys would be obvious tenders even before factoring in their relatively low 2010 salaries.
THEY MIGHT BE BACK...
C Ronny Paulino - 2nd season of arbitration - Tender, raise from $1.1M
RHP Burke Badenhop - 2nd season of arbitration - Tender, $0.408M
LHP Andrew Miller - 1st season of arbitration - Non-tender
RHP Jose Veras - 2nd season of arbitration - Non-tender
OF Brett Carroll - 1st season of arbitration - Non-tender
I suppose we'll start off with the guys that I think should get tendered, first.
I know that Paulino is still suspended for the first eight games of the 2011 season to finish his 50-game suspension for using a banned substance, but that won't take away from most of his value for next season. More importantly, I see a solid defensive catcher with a playable bat- something that Florida simply doesn't have right now given the injury questions surrounding John Baker. He's got a .273/.328/.383 career line and 7.1 WAR over 1720 PA- the numbers are strong enough that he'll find a job somewhere else if the Marlins don't want him.
As for Badenhop, he's been solid in relief over the past two seasons and shouldn't be too costly next season. He doesn't overpower hitters with a fastball that rarely tops 90 MPH, but he's got strong groundball tendencies and command. That's been enough for him to succeed so far, as he's put up sub-4 FIP and xFIP marks in each of the past two seasons.
As for Miller, Veras and Carroll, they've all flashed varying levels of potential, but at this point none of them has really emerged as a guy that would be worth tendering. Miller was once one of the best prospects in baseball and a centerpiece of the Miguel Cabrera trade, but he looked absolutely lost this season and is out-of-options, too. Just check out his combined numbers from Double-A and the majors this season: 2-13 W-L, 6.71 ERA, 94 strikeouts and 87 walks in 118 innings. He's still only 25, but eventually you have to admit that things just aren't working out. Veras performed better in 2010, but his command comes and goes, and he's failed to put up strong numbers over the course of an entire season. Carroll is a good defensive outfielder, but he hasn't put up decent offensive numbers since spending most of 2007 in Triple-A, and it's not like he's that young at age 28. These are the kind of guys that you non-tender and bring back if they're willing to take minor league deals.
THEY WON'T BE BACK...
C Mike Rivera - 1st season of arbitration - Non-tender
Florida's catching situation isn't great, as I mentioned before, but it's hard to see Rivera doing much to improve the situation. He's a 34-year-old catcher. He's not exactly regarded as a defensive whiz, someone that works really well with pitchers, or a great gamecaller. He's got a .238/.302/.373 career line, which isn't the worst thing a catcher could do. But I just don't see enough here to go to arbitration with the guy.