Looking at MLB Trade Rumors' Non-Tender Tracker on the near-eve of the Winter Meetings may well be like hoping for a Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle with a compass in the stock when you know you're just going to shoot your eye out if you ever actually got one.
But since we're slowly wrapping up our series of free agent profiles (there will be one more big post on Saturday!), a rundown of some of the notable pitchers who have been non-tendered contracts and are now free agents might be an interesting exercise.
And, since the Rockies non-tendered their own group of players last night, it might be interesting to see if they take a few chances at new blood with the three open spots that now exist on their 40-man roster.
(One note: this covers pitchers only; several notable hitters who might fit with the Colorado Rockies — like Pedro Alvarez, Ike Davis, and Chris Carter — have been non-tendered, too. I'm just not going to touch on them here.)
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Alvarez, of course, is probably the biggest name out there that has been non-tendered, at least among pitchers. He's had injury concerns — specifically surrounding his shoulder, which shelved him for most of 2015 — but the righty is expected to make somewhere in the vicinity of $4 million this coming year and would be a veritable bargain if he's truly healthy.
Minor, who will turn 28 before the season begins, is the other significant name along with Alvarez who could immediately impact a starting rotation. Like Alvarez, Minor's health is a question, as he's missed most of the last two seasons (!) with injuries. Before his bad injury luck the past two years, though, Minor threw nearly 500 innings between 2011 and 2013, logging a 3.72 ERA and 3.76 FIP, and will certainly draw attention on the market now that he's a free agent.
Cishek, 29, is non-tendered into a very interesting market; he's an All-Star-caliber closer, but is also set to make more than $7 million through arbitration this winter, and that price tag for a reliever may scare off many teams (like the Rockies) that aren't just a reliever away from playoff contention. A bad 2015, too — which saw the side-armer demoted to Triple-A in the Cardinals' system — may hurt his perceived value on the free agent market, but with 95 career saves, a 2.82 ERA, 2.81 FIP, and 9.5 K/9 across his career, Cishek will certainly attract interest.
Feliz, 27, has alternately been a future standout reliever and a possible front-line starter, but 2015 with the Tigers derailed those hopes after he pitched to a 7.62 ERA in not even 30 innings in Detroit after he had been cut by the Rangers. He's still relatively young and he throws hard, though, so someone will buy low on him in the hopes of straightening him out just enough for middle relief depth.
Holland is an interesting non-tender case, and one the Rockies would be smart not to pursue. The closer underwent elbow reconstruction surgery during the 2015 season, and even though the Royals attempted to work out a two-year deal with him knowing he'll miss a sizable portion of 2016, nothing came to fruition. Now, it'll be interesting to see if another team will take a two-year chance on a pitcher who will miss at least the first several months of 2015, albeit with a solid track record closing games otherwise.
After several years in the Tigers' bullpen, Alburquerque, 29, will test the market in 2016 after Detroit decided not to bring him back as a middle reliever in an already short 'pen. He's nothing special, having logged a 4.21 ERA, 8.4 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 over 62 innings in 2015, but he's also a veteran who will help someone in middle relief next summer.
Mattheus, 32, spent the first six years of his professional career in the Rockies' organization before he reached the big leagues with the Nationals in 2011. Now, after 58 games in 2015 split between the Reds (57) and Angels (1), the righty will test the market as a solid if not unspectacular middle relief option. Mattheus is eligible for arbitration in 2016, with MLBTR projected him to make somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.3 million.
Petit, 31, has split time over the last four seasons between the bullpen and rotation for the Giants. He's been very good at times in both jobs (3.66 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 4.62 K:BB, just 1.9 BB/9, and a 1.128 WHIP across 245 innings in San Francisco), and should draw considerable interest on the free agent market.
Ramos, 31, had the best full season of his career in 2015 with the Angels, going 2-1 with a 2.75 ERA (3.02 FIP) across 65 games (52 innings), while walking just 15 and striking out 43. In his career, the lefty specialist has allowed just 8.6 H/9 and 0.7 HR/9 over 251 games (299 innings). Ramos will go through arbitration with his new team before 2016, after earning just $1.3 million with the Halos last summer.
Villarreal, 27, threw 50 innings of long relief in 2015 for the Reds, logging 10.3 H/9, 1.1 HR/9, 2.2 BB/9 and just 5.2 K/9 while finishing with a 3.42 ERA and 4.43 FIP. In his brief Major League career (just 44 games over four seasons), Villarreal has proven not to miss many bats, allowing 10.2 hits per nine innings while striking out just 5.8 batters per nine across 71 innings. Nevertheless, the righty will find himself a bullpen depth piece for someone come Spring Training.
You don't think the Rockies would... nah.
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There are actually some decent non-tender names out there (and we didn't even cover any hitters!), but the best in the group — Alvarez, Cishek, Minor, Holland — will surely receive multiple offers from interested parties. I personally like Petit and Ramos as two arms the Rockies might want to consider pursuing; Petit for general swingman depth, and Ramos if only for the fact that after their own non-tenders last night, the Rockies are now down two more left-handed relievers. What about you?