Four best players hitting the free agent market after the non-tender deadline

Daniel Vogelbach
Daniel Vogelbach was one of the big names not tendered a contract. Photo from Reviewing the Brew.

Now that the deadline has passed, the list of the best non-tendered players 2021 in Major League Baseball has left a lot of people speechless, as there will be no shortage of talent available up for grabs.

What does tendering a contract mean?

Teams can non-tender players for money, health, or simply because they don’t fit the plans of the new management or coaching staff. For those who aren’t familiar with the term “tendering” a player, he’s an explanation by MLB’s official glossary:

“To “tender” a contract to a player is to agree to give a contract for the upcoming season to a player who is under club control. Players on the 40-man roster with fewer than six years of Major League service time must be tendered contracts or they will be considered “non-tendered” and immediately made eligible for free agency. Contracts must be tendered to both arbitration-eligible and pre-arbitration players, though the latter group has no say in its forthcoming salary.”

Tendering a contract to an arbitration-eligible player does not mean that the two sides set a specific salary, but rather that they agree to come to terms on a salary between the date of the tender and late February. If the two sides cannot come to terms on a salary or multi-year deal, an arbitration hearing will be held and a panel of arbitrators will determine his salary. The offseason deadline for clubs to tender contracts to eligible players typically falls in early December.”

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The rumors of a potential lockout due to the new CBA negotiations forced the league’s hand to move the tendering deadline from December 2 to November 30. Thus, teams had to tender contracts sooner than expected to allow players to sign with other teams before both parties reach an agreement on the new CBA.

Best non-tendered players 2021

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the new MLB free agents, those non-tendered players that could be set to change teams pretty soon.

Matthew Boyd

The Detroit Tigers made a huge splash by signing Javier Báez and rumors state that they’re not done spending. Most people believe that A.J. Hinch is looking to round up the offseason by reuniting with Houston Astros superstar Carlos Correa.


But, adding that top-notch middle infield to a rebuilding team comes with a price. That’s why they surprisingly decided to non-tender Matthew Boyd. The southpaw was the longest-tenured player in the team not named Miguel Cabrera and was pretty decent through the first half of the season.

Boyd posted a 3.44 ERA era in 13 starts before heading to the injured list. He looked like a great complimentary piece for their young rotation. He could draw plenty of interest in free agency. However, the fact that the Tigers decided to let him go only raises further questions about his left arm’s health, especially coming off surgery.

Phil Gosselin

Phil Gosselin is one of the best new MLB free agents, and we didn’t expect him to be on this list. Not only was he one of the few bright spots for the Los Angeles Angels last season. Also, he’s the most versatile player now heading to free agency.

Gosselin wasn’t a dominant slugger as he slashed just .261/.314/.362 with seven home runs but he was the Jack of all trades for Joe Maddon. He can play everywhere in the outfield and the infield and was huge for a team that dealt with multiple injuries.

He also stole four bases and drove in 47 runs across 104 games for the Halos. Now, the Angels will trust Luis Rengifo, Andrew Velazquez, Jack Mayfield, and Tyler Wade for utility duties; while Gosselin is likely to find a new home in the blink of an eye.

Check out our MLB free agency tracker and grades

Daniel Vogelbach

Daniel Vogelbach‘s name sure stands out among the non-tendered players in 2021, and for very good reasons. It’s not too often that you find a power-hitting leftie that can play solid defense at the first base. Once again, this was somewhat of a surprise move by the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Brewers had no room for Vogelbach after signing Rowdy Tellez, and Jace Peterson to one-year deals earlier in the week. They also cut ties with John Curtiss and signed reliever Jandel Gustave and tendered most of last year’s successful core.

Even so, there’s still a possibility that the Brewers bring Vogelbach back. Most rumors point at the universal designated hitter coming back next season, and that could open up some space for the leftie slugger. If not, there are multiple teams in need of a player with his skills.

José Rondón

José Rondón is talented, versatile, and a very good defender. He played mostly at shortstop but also thrived at first base, second base, and third base; and occasionally in the outfield as well. However, the St. Louis Cardinals would rather free up space for their up-and-coming prospects.

The Cardinals aren’t likely to contend soon and would rather get their long-overdue rebuilding process started. Even so, Rondón was the only player who didn’t get tendered from the roster. Now, star prospects Brendan Donovan and Juan Yepez are likely to take his spot.

The 27-year-old utilityman Rondón will have plenty of offers sitting at his table. He’s coming off a season in which he served as an everyday player, pinch-hitter, pinch-runner, and designated hitter. He’s a bit of a Swiss Army knife and the kind of utility player all contenders need.

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