While most of the attention has been on free agency of late, the Boston Red Sox still have some roster housekeeping to do. Earlier this week, Boston added Wikelman Gonzalez and Luis Perales to their 40 man roster to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 draft, but one last piece of roster business is still in play as today is the deadline to tender or non-tender arbitration eligible players.
This year shouldn't have any big names owed a lot of money in play to get non-tendered, but it is still an important deadline as it will begin to shape the 2024 roster, have downstream impacts on payroll, and will effect how easy it is for the Red Sox to add players in free agency without having to make corresponding roster moves. Here's a look at what we could expect today.
What does non-tendering a player mean?
Non-tendering is just a fancy word to describe not offering a contract to arbitration-eligible players. Players during this period of their careers are under team control, but their contracts are not guaranteed. If a player is tendered, then the arbitration process goes on as normal with the sides either settling on a deal ahead of time or they file opposing arbitration figures and let the arbitrator decide between the two as to how much said player is going to make that season.
Non-tendering a player skips all of that and immediately makes that player a free agent. Teams do this to save money sometimes if a guy is set to make a lot in his last year of arbitration and they are not contending and/or don't have much payroll room and are unable to trade the player. However, most of the time non-tenders are just due to a guy not being good enough to justify what it will cost to keep them.
Red Sox non-tender candidates
For the Red Sox, they have several arbitration eligible players that could technically be non-tendered. Alex Verdugo is a popular name this offseason as his future in Boston is in question, but it seems highly likely that if the Red Sox move on from him, it will be via trade as he still has a lot of value. Nick Pivetta and John Schreiber are both arms that have performed well and won't break the bank, so they are likely coming back as well.
The two guys that could very well get non-tendered are Reese McGuire and Luis Urias. There are a lot of quality backup catchers on the free agent market this year and McGuire's ability to stay healthy is an open question. He isn't projected to get much in arbitration, though, so this could go either way.
Luis Urias is probably the most likely guy to get non-tendered on Boston's roster. The Red Sox acquired Urias at the trade deadline as a hail mary to try and remedy their middle infield woes, but his .698 OPS after the trade left a lot to be desired. Urias is also set to make real money in arbitration in the $4-4.5 million range which is a lot for a guy that struggled to do much of anything at the plate in 2023. If the Red Sox bring him back, it may be on a cheaper deal than what he would get in arbitration with a minor league deal also being in the cards.