Yesterday was the last day that teams could offer contracts to their arbitration-eligible players, and there were some interesting non-tenders for sure. Let's take a look:
Matt Capp, CL, PITT
The Pirates will now go into spring training looking for a closer, unless they veer off course and sign a free agent like Jose Valverde, Mike Gonzalez, Fernando Rodney, or Kevin Gregg. They also could dangle Andy Laroche in a deal for a closer since they traded for Akinori Iwamura to play second base. That assumes that Pedro Alvarez wins the Pirates 3B job out of spring training, otherwise Laroche will be the Pirates 3Bman. Here is what MLB.com said about the Pirates closer situation:
In the meantime, the Pirates now have even more work to do to construct a bullpen that had already lost Jesse Chavez in an offseason trade. One thing the Pirates do seem confident in, though, is that their next closer could come in-house, as both Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek are likely to garner consideration for the role.
I don't see either Hanrahan or Meek keeping the job. Capps Is coming off his worst year of his career as he ended the year with a 5.80 ERA. Could the Phillies take a chance on Capps to backup Lidge?
Jonny Gomes, OF, CIN
Gomes is coming off a season where he went 20-51-.267-.338-.541-.879. Gomes could be a nice pickup for a team that wants to platoon his vs. left-handed pitchers as he hit .307-.369-.545-.914 against lefties in 2009. In his career, Gomes has hit .274-.369-.517-.885 vs lefties.
it appears the Reds will go into spring training with an open competition in LF with Wladimir Balentein, Chris Dickerson, Chris Heisey and Todd Frazier vying for the spot.
Kelly Johnson, 2B, ATL
Johnson is coming off a down year where he lost the second base job to Martin Prado in Atlanta. He went 8-29-7-.229-.303-.389-.692 in 2009 after going 12-69-11-.287-.349-.446-.795 in 2008. Johnson's BABIP in 2009 was a very low .247, much lower than his career BABIP average of .311. There were some positives in his 2009 season, as he lowered his K% from 18.4% to 15.6% and increased his BB% from 8.5% to 9.3%.
Johnson could be a nice sleeper in 2009 should he land a second base job. If he can bring his BABIP close to .300 and continue to show improved plate discipline, he could have another season like he did in 2008. Do you hear me Ned?