Monday, December 2, 2019 at 8:00 P.M. was the deadline for Major League teams to make decisions on their arbitration-eligible players. Players who are tendered a contract remain under team control and will agree on contract numbers at a later date. Players that are non-tendered effectively become free agents.
Entering today, the Baltimore Orioles had seven players that were arbitration eligible. General Manager Mike Elias has made it known that he will be spending this offseason, looking to shed salaries and add cost-effective free agents to the team. Let’s take a look at the arbitration eligible players and the Orioles’ decisions surrounding them.
Jonathan Villar – Last week, the Orioles made the controversial decision to place the popular infielder on waivers after trying to trade him. Ultimately, the Orioles were able to find a team willing to engage, trading Villar to the Miami Marlins on Monday. In exchange for the for the versital infielder, the Orioles received minor league pitcher Easton Lucas.
Last season, Villar posted a 4.0 bWAR and batted .274 with 40 stolen bases. In his final year as an arbitration-eligible player, Villar was due to make $10 million dollars, a price that the Orioles were unwilling to pay.
The Orioles receive a player that the Marlins drafted in the 14th round of the 2019 draft out of Pepperdine. Standing 6’4″, the 23-year-old Lucas was mostly a starting pitcher in college, posting a 5-4 record with a 3.87 ERA during his senior year. Lucas struck out 71 and walked 16 in 76 and 2/3 innings.
In college, Lucas was thought to be an underachiever by scouts, who felt that his solid four pitch mix and 88-92 MPH fastball should have garnered more success. Batters, however, still recorded 73 hits in his 76 plus innings. It is worth noting, however, that Lucas did achieve All-Star statues in the Cape Cod League last year.
Dylan Bundy – The Orioles tendered Bundy on Monday. However, according to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the team is actively looking to trade the right-hander. Once the gem of the Orioles’ minor league system, Bundy went 7-14 last season with a 4.79 ERA. Bundy has one more season as an arbitration-eligible player.
Richard Bleier – The Orioles avoided arbitration with relief pitcher Richard Bleier, agreeing on Monday to a one-year, $915,000 contract with the left-hander. Bleier is entering his age 33 season and last year posted a 5.37 ERA to go with 30 strikeouts in 55.1 innings. Bleier posted an ERA under two in his first two seasons with the club before undergoing back surgery in June of 2018. The southpaw proved to be a bit rusty when coming back in 2019
Trey Mancini, Hanser Alberto, Miguel Castro, and Mychal Givens were all also tendered by the club. The team will attempt to reach agreements with the tendered players or head to arbitration.
Other former Orioles that were non-tendered are Kevin Gausman, Caleb Joseph, and Tim Beckham.
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