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Rival Roundup, Vol. 8: Checkin’ tenders

This may be the last “tender” pun you read all year, so soak it up.

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Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians - Game 2 Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Diligent readers of Sandwiches’ offseason calendar will have been well-prepared for this week, which produced the most movement out of any period so far this offseason. In the wake of declined options earlier this November, baseball fans have been waiting to see if this week’s non-tender deadline would forecast the market at large. While some decisions were predictable, there was still a fair amount of surprise — and plenty of rival activity to, shall we say, round up.

Cleveland Spiders

  • Jefry Rodriguez, Delino DeShields, and Tyler Naquin have been non-tendered. All are at least 27, and only Rodriguez has less than four years of service time. Only Naquin was a tried-and-true development of the Cleveland system; after over 300 games with the team (and a third-place ROTY finish in ‘16), he’s been cut loose.
  • Adam Cimber is shipped to the Marlins for cash.

Chicago White Sox

  • As Cleveland did last week, the White Sox have announced their full coaching staff for the 2021 season. Notably, their new bench coach, pitching coach, and analytics coordinator are all from outside the organization. Assistant hitting coach Howie Clark is promoted from AAA, and the rest either retain their 2020 roles or switch titles.
  • Nomar Mazara and Carlos Rodon were non-tendered this week. Mazara was more or less a flier in the first place; the Sox were hoping he might round out his approach and provide some power in the lineup. A 68 wRC+ proved otherwise.
  • Rodon was the third overall pick in the 2014 draft. He’s still just 27 and has played in parts of six MLB seasons now, but you get the feeling that Chicago is done hoping that he’ll put it all together one year. He’s barely cracked 200 innings over his last four seasons of work, with injuries and underperformance ultimately bubbling over into an 8.22 ERA in four outings over the summer.
  • In one of the bigger surprises of the offseason, longtime Cubs TV man Len Kasper will be leaving the Marquee Sports Network in favor of an opportunity to call White Sox games on the radio.
  • With the Cubs having finally won it all, Kasper is looking for the opportunity to fulfill his longtime dream of calling his team’s postseason games — and would you look at that! The radio provides just such an opportunity.
  • Is this the karmic response to Harry Caray’s change of employment?

Detroit Tigers

Kansas City Royals

  • The biggest free agent addition to the division so far is — drum roll, please! — Mike Minor.
  • Minor was with Kansas City in 2017, where he worked his way back into major-league baseball after three years without an appearance. An impressive showing in relief earned him a spot in the Texas Rangers’ 2018 rotation; he’s started in all but one of his outings since then.
  • Whether the Royals will make a bid at contention within the next two years remains to be seen. Still, they get a reliable arm with experience to help eat some innings around a young rotation. This would also allow them to ease prospects into the mix by way of the bullpen, versus needing starts wherever they can get them.
  • Kansas City also added outfielder Michael A. Taylor on a one-year deal; the lifelong Nat posted a .196 batting average last year and hasn’t reached his 2017 level of production in any other season. But he’s speedy, so he’ll fit right on in!
  • The Royals non-tendered Foster Griffin, Carlos Sanabria, Bubba Starling, Erick Mejia, Jeison Guzman, and Maikel Franco, the last of which is probably the most notable drop. Franco never really panned out with the Phillies, who gave him every opportunity to succeed as an everyday starter, but who ultimately watched his production bob up and down with very little consistency. Franco bobbed up again in 60 games this season, but the gamble that he’d stay afloat in ‘21 was evidently not worth it for the Kansas City front office.

Keep it tenda’.