A number of free agents were non-tendered yesterday, meaning that they will definitely be available to sign with any team this off-season, and the type-A free agents will no longer cost a high-round draft pick to sign. Free agents offered arbitration have until December 7 to accept the offer, and the deadline for teams to offer contracts to non-free agents who are eligible for arbitration is December 12.
Here's a look at a few non-tendered free agents who might have interest for the Nationals:
For a team looking to upgrade it's middle infield defense, Polanco suddenly becomes one of the best options out there (assuming that the team isn't so locked into the Guzman-to-second idea that they can't consider better alternatives). He's been one of the most consistently excellent second basemen in the league for a decade. Polanco is like Guzman at the plate, except better. Excellent bat control and contact rates, very few walks, and just enough pop to hit maybe two dingers a month. He also would give the team a little more much-needed depth behind Zimmerman. It will probably take a two-year deal to sign the 35-year-old, but they could use a little more time before fully launching the Espinosa-Desmond-Kobernus era, and I like the combination of Polanco and Guzman a lot better than I like Guzman and Adam Everett.
I thought the Rockies would offer arbitration to Torrealba, and that the chances were also pretty good that he would accept. But that didn't happen, so Torrealba suddenly becomes one of the best free agent catchers available. I think he'll be overpaid and will look an awful lot like Wil Nieves over the next few seasons, so I'd stay away.
Still seems like LaRoche will want to stay in Atlanta, where he's had his best seasons. But he'd be a good fit in Washington. He's really undervalued for a guy who consistently gives you a .275 / .345 / .485 line. He's an ok fielder, and another left-handed bat. So it's a good buy-low option on a 30-year-old who's better than Josh Willingham and no less valuable than Adam Dunn, given the defense.
Call me crazy, but Delgado is one to watch. If a market for him fails to materialize, I could see his price dropping fast. No, he doesn't fit into any kind of long-term plan, but then neither does Willingham, who will probably stop being a productive player about the same time Delgado does. Anyway, I wouldn't jump on him now or anything, but if you can finally trade away Dunn or Willingham (or both) for prospects, why not sign him for one year and ten million? If he's good, you flip him at mid-season, and if he's not, oh well, neither are the Nationals. Besides, he's a super-cool dude.
I'll do a full post on pitchers soon, and there were a bunch of interesting non-tenders yesterday, but I'll highlight this one. Gregg is a guy who has more like set-up man stuff, he's closed before, and he's going to have to go to a team like Washington to get another shot. Last season he had some long ball problems, but that was a huge aberration. His 15.3% HR/FB rate is a fluke, and his 1.7 HR/9 rate is way out of line with his career rate of 0.94. They could do a lot worse than handing the job to this guy.
Ha! Lopez is actually a surprising non-tender who should be of interest to a lot of teams. Not the Nationals though. Fool me once... And as a fan, I usually try to focus on what's best for the bottom line, but I just don't want to have to root for that guy.