So last night's deadline to tender contracts to players came and went without the fanfare that was expected by many. The Rockies provided one of the biggest names on the non-tender list with Garrett Atkins, but several other players rumored to be cut loose either reached deals with their teams or were at least tendered offers.
The Dodgers tendered contracts to all nine of their unsigned players still in team control, proving wrong some of the most dire reads on that team's finances. Actually, on the whole, MLB teams seem to be a bit more healthy economically than many predicted. Other players tendered contracts that were earlier rumored to be on the bubble included Kevin Correia of San Diego, Corey Hart of Milwaukee, Dioner Navarro of Tampa Bay and almost all eligible players from Minnesota and Florida.
The cases of players that were non-tendered fell into two categories: players that are clearly declining in production and not likely to be worth their arbitration awards like Garrett Atkins or Jack Cust or Ryan Garko, or players coming off of or entering lost seasons due to injury like Chien Ming Wang or Jose Arredondo. Perhaps the most curious case to me is that of John Buck of Kansas City, who doesn't project to be that much worse than Jason Kendall, but would likely be willing to sign for quite a bit less than the $3 million a year that the team is giving Kendall. The Royals spent the difference for roughly a quarter of a win, which given the state of that franchise seems beyond pointless.
With Buck entering the FA market, it adds one more potential target for the Rockies should Yorvit Torrealba not re-sign with the club. Torrealba returning still seems the most likely outcome, as I haven't seen signs that the interest in him from other teams still looking for catching help outweighs that of the Rockies.
Wang seems to be the non-tender that is getting the most interest from clubs right off the bat, but former Brave Kelly Johnson might be a more interesting player to look at for the Rockies as a utility infielder/complement to Clint Barmes, although his left handed bat doesn't help one of the Rockies primary off season goals. Garko would be almost ideal if he could play third base, but since that's not going to happen, he too seems unlikely to be of interest to the Rockies. Basically that's the situation with almost all of these players, some fatal flaw makes signing them to anything more than a minor league contract with a NRI to spring camp risky.