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IN THIS ISSUE

National League

ATLANTA BRAVES
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Non-tendered LHP Mike Minor. [12/2]

Almost every player non-tendered is either hurt and/or coming off a bad season. Minor checks the first box (though you could argue that missing the entire season is the same as attending all 162 while performing poorly). He underwent a May shoulder surgery that not only canceled his 2015, but casts doubt on his future prospects. This, then, was inevitable; no team—including, obviously, the rebuilding Braves—was going to pay Minor $6 million to maybe pitch next season. Be that as it may, here's hoping Minor makes a full recovery and finds himself in the majors again before long.

MIAMI MARLINS
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Non-tendered RHPs Henderson Alvarez and Aaron Crow. [12/2]

As with Minor, Alvarez is coming off in-season shoulder surgery that limited him to four starts in 2015 and puts his future in doubt. He only recently began throwing, so the expectation is that he won't be ready for spring training. Still, Alvarez's past success guarantees that teams will have interest in funding his rehab. The questions are, obviously, whether his stuff will return in whole and if he'll able to succeed if it doesn't once his big-league career resumes. Here's hoping the answer is yes either way.

Crow never pitched for the Marlins. He was acquired in an offseason trade, then underwent Tommy John surgery in early April. Before the operation, Crow was a wild power arm with stressful mechanics and late-inning experience. Now? He's an intriguing rehabilitation project who might not throw enough strikes to contribute in a meaningful way anytime soon.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS
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Non-tendered RHP Juan Nicasio. [12/2]

On paper, Nicasio looks like he could be something special. He has a blazing fastball that last season averaged 96 mph, and he used it to miss bats and record more than a strikeout per inning. Yet dig deeper and you'll come to realize that relievers with this profile are as common as rappers who threaten to steal your girlfriend. Nicasio has poor command, as evidenced by bloated walk rate, and has nothing in his arsenal to fend off left-handed batters, who, in turn, combined for a .362 True Average against him. (For reference, that's two points higher than Joey Votto's seasonal mark; Votto was the second-best hitter in baseball last season, according to the same metric.) Nicasio will probably land a big-league deal with some other team, but the Dodgers had good reason to pass on guaranteeing him a spot.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
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Non-tendered DH-L Pedro Alvarez. [12/2]

It was inevitable that Alvarez would join another team at some point this winter. This just so happened to represent one of the two paths leading to that destination, with the other being a trade.

Alvarez, of course, moved across the diamond last season following his 2014-long bout with the yips. The hope was that his sneaky athleticism would allow him to develop into a near-average defender at the cold corner as he received more reps. Nope. Alvarez still provided at the plate—he posted a career-high True Average, in fact—yet his poor glove left the Pirates no other option but to move on.

The assumption now is that an American League team will sign Alvarez to serve as DH. There's always the chance that a career NL player won't take well to the role, but if there's someone out there who might find comfort in focusing on his hitting and his hitting alone, it's Alvarez. Provided he can retain his production, then some team could get a bargain. Yeah he strikes out a ton and has platoon issues, yet he can he still hit 25-plus home runs and reach base more than 30 percent of the time. You can count how many players hit those marks in 2015 on . . . um, eight hands. Whatever.

SAN DIEGO PADRES
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Non-tendered 3B-R Will Middlebrooks. [12/2]

A famous name and little else. Middlebrooks turned 27 in September, yet he's now gone three full seasons without enjoying extended success in the majors. The story is the same as it was a year or two ago: His strength and athleticism are wasted by his approach and inability to adjust. He's probably shopping for a minor-league deal from this point forward, but don't be surprised if he surfaces in the majors again someday soon; while his combination of relative youth and perceived upside seem unlikely to translate to results, that won't stop teams from thinking this could be the year.

SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
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Non-tendered RHP Yusmeiro Petit and C-S Hector Sanchez. [12/2]

Petit ought to have suitors. He's not good enough to start or pitch in high-leverage situations, but he's arguably the best multi-inning reliever in baseball—admittedly a meaningless title in this era of one-inning and -out relievers. Petit succeeds behind his command and deception, and while he'll give up his share of home runs, his rubber arm makes his flaws easier to overlook. Expect some team—perhaps the Rays or Royals, each of whom leaned on their bullpens last season—to add him to the fold before long.

Sanchez is likely to find work as a third catcher based on his age (26) alone. That's a good thing, because there isn't a whole lot else here to get excited about. Sanchez is an extreme hacker, to the extent that his career swing and O-swing rates exceed Jeff Francoeur's during the PITCHf/x era. Making matters worse is that he doesn't make contact—let alone good contact—often enough to describe him as a bad-ball hitter; he's more of a bad-ball whiffer. You still could see him as a backup if his defense were strong. It isn't. Sanchez is young, though, and that tends to cover for a lot of flaws.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS
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Non-tendered RHP Craig Stammen. [12/2]

Another injury case. Prior to last season, Stammen had established himself as a workhorse reliever by topping the 70-inning mark in three consecutive years, all without ever starting a game. Yet he missed most of the season after undergoing forearm surgery early in the campaign to repair torn tendons. He's expected to be ready once spring training rolls around, so this could be an instance where the Nationals bring him back at a reduced cost. Otherwise, Stammen will take his sinker-slider act to a different city.

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BillJohnson
12/04
You might add Peter Bourjos (Cardinals) to this list, at least in spirit if not completely accurately. He was glommed off waivers by the Phillies hours before he would have been non-tendered (and immediately signed with them, possibly for more than he would have got if the non-tender process had run its course). There is general curiosity at this, first why the Cardinals would waive him, and then as to how much he's got left -- still has elite wheels but hit below the Mendoza Line this year.