Who will be non-tendered?
The Red Sox roster is spoiled with players going through arbitration this offseason. In order to increase financial flexibility on the payroll, some players who are making too much money may get non-tendered. Obviously, players like Betts (projected $27.7 million in arbitration per MLBTR) won’t get cut, but others might. The deadline to non-tender a player is December 2.
A few players who the front office may choose to cut are Jackie Bradley Jr. (projected $11 million per MLBTR), Sandy Leon (projected $2.8 million), and Heath Hembree (projected $1.6 million). These players seem to be expendable on the roster and would not be franchise changing to cut.
JBJ has had rumors swirling about him and he may also be traded. If the Red Sox are not confident they can trade Bradley, they will cut him and not pay $11 million for a below-average offensive player. If teams are interested in the center-fielder’s services, then he will likely be tendered a contract only to trade him.
Leon is a backup catcher and is likely overpaid. His 2019 OPS+ was 42 which was absolutely atrocious. The Red Sox tried to cut him last season as he started the season in Triple-A. He was only called up because he is Chris Sale‘s personal catcher. However, Sale may be forced to pitch to Vazquez or an external replacement next year as $3 million for Sandy may not seem worth it to the now penny-pinching Red Sox.
Hembree was having a solid season in 2019 until it got spoiled by an elbow injury. With his health definitely being a concern for next season, a minor-league pitcher can almost definitely put up similar numbers for about $1 million less.
Overall, while all three of these players have contributed greatly over the past several years, the Red Sox need to save every penny and some complementary, arbitration-eligible players may have to be casualties. Either way, the Red Sox front office only has a day left to make this decision as the deadline is on Monday, December 2nd.