November 30 was the deadline for teams to tender contract offers to players eligible for arbitration. This year there were over 40 players who were instant free agents because their teams did not tender them contracts. These are commonly called non-tender players. MLB.com has a full list of the non-tender players.
There are some intriguing names that could be of interest to the Dodgers. Some players were underachievers last year; some have injury histories, and some just aren’t worth what they may have received in arbitration. Here, I break down some position players that might be worth taking a look at.
Some important notes:
- These non-tender players are free agents, so some could come very cheap (and the Dodgers value the bargain basement)
- The Dodgers value versatility
- The Dodgers value players that can exploit a matchup
- I expect the Dodgers to move some unexpected players
Jonathan Schoop – 27 y/o, 2B, bats right
I spoke about Schoop in this article. The Curacao native (same as Kenley Jansen) was really good in 2017 with a slash line of .293/.338/.503 and a bWAR (Baseball Reference WAR) of 5.2. This was in a decent Orioles lineup and a hitter-friendly ballpark.
He started 2018 off with the Orioles before being traded to the Brewers at the July 31 trade deadline. He never got it together and the Brewers soured on him, giving him just 8 at bats in the playoffs. Overall he finished at .233/.266/.416 with a bWAR of 1.4. Even when he’s done well, he’s never had an OBP above .338. He’s also put up big strikeout numbers.
If the Dodgers were to sign Schoop to a Major League contract, then I’d assume it would be as a starter at second base. He’s mostly only played one position in his career so he wouldn’t be a good bench candidate. He doesn’t really get on base like the Dodgers like so, while interesting, he’s a long shot.
Yangervis Solarte – 31 y/o, 2B/3B, bats both
Solarte had a multi-year contract that the Blue Jays bought out and did not offer him arbitration. He is another player that took a big step back in 2018. In 2017 he played for the Padres and slashed .255/.314/.416 with a bWAR of 1.3. He was traded to the Blue Jays for the 2018 season and slashed .226/.277/.378 in 506 plate appearances. His WAR was -0.7. Ouch!
Solarte is another player that doesn’t walk very much. He plays both second and third base but there is nothing to indicate that he’s that good on defense. He has also appeared at shortstop and first base over the last few years. On the Dodgers he would be a bench player and would only warrant a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Tim Beckham – 29 y/o, SS/2B/3B, bats right
The reason I chose to talk about Beckham is that Andrew Friedman chose him as the first pick in the 2008 draft while with the Rays. Clearly, Beckham was a mistake but seemed to blossom when he was traded to the Orioles in the middle of the 2017 season. He slashed .306/348/.523 with a bWAR of 2 in just 50 games. His totals for 2017 were .278/328/.454 with a bWAR of 3.3 and 22 home runs.
Like many Orioles he had a poor 2018 with a slash of .230/.287/.374 with a bWAR of .7. He has played a lot of his Major League career at shortstop, but also played a lot of third base in 2018 since Manny Machado played shortstop when he was with the Orioles. Beckham has been a bit inconsistent on defense but he’d probably benefit from playing one position.
However, his versatility and recent success could make him a target for the Dodgers as a reserve player. He does have some pop, but doesn’t walk enough. Do you notice a trend? These non-tender players are allergic to walks. I don’t see him as a likely candidate unless the Dodgers move Kiké Hernandez or Chris Taylor. Still, the Friedman connection cannot be ignored.
Billy Hamilton – 28 y/o, OF, bats both
As most of us know, Hamilton is very fast. According to Baseball Savant he’s one of the top 5 fastest players in baseball. He plays an excellent centerfield and would make an outfield defense better by being out there. As a pinch-runner off the bench he would be excellent.
He had a career high in walks of 46 in 2018, but it is still just 46. The Reds usually batted him in the 9thspot because his bat is not a strength. He slashed .236/.299/.327 in 2018. It would take a bit for the Dodgers to be interested. They’d need to have unloaded some outfielders in a trade and the outfielders would not be platoon players. Hamilton would be a late inning replacement and a pinch runner. He falls under the category of “nice to have”. Bottom line, I’d rather have Andrew Toles than Billy Hamilton.
Avisail Garcia – 28 y/o, RF, bats right
Guess what? He is allergic to walks also. He is a player that just wasn’t worth the projected arbitration numbers. In 2018, with the White Sox, he slashed .236/.281/.438 with a 0.3 bWAR. He’s another guy who took a big dive as he slashed .330/.380/.506 with a bWAR of 4.6. Those are some nice numbers.
If the Dodgers decide to trade some outfielders then Garcia could be a cheap option. He has had both decent and mediocre defensive numbers over the last few years as a right fielder. Something to note that might be of interest, he slashed .424/.454/.576 against lefties in 2017.
He is a clear long shot but there could be a scenario that leads the Dodgers to be interested in him.
Chris Owings – 28 y/o, Utility, bats right
Owings plays many positions and had some excellent outfield defensive numbers in 2018. He also plays decent defense on the infield and is pretty fast. He’s another one of those guys that might be interesting if the Dodgers move on from either Kiké or CT3 (I am not advocating this, just speculating).
On the negative side he would be a step down from those guys, as he doesn’t walk enough. There was some equality in their hitting until 2018, as Owings only slashed .206/.272/.302 with a bWAR of -0.2. His slash in 2017 was .268/.299/.442 with a bWAR of 0.7. I see Owings as a guy that would be a minor league signing with an offer to come to spring training.
What these players all have in common is that they don’t walk enough. These days, teams realize how important it is to get on base and some players aren’t changing their approach. It’s no wonder they got non-tendered. However, most of these players have had some level of success and getting on the Dodgers could help. We’ve already seen players like Justin Turner, Chris Taylor and Max Muncy become good-to-great players.
There are a lot of players in the bargain basement and we know the Dodgers love bargains.
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