While perusing the web this morning, I came across an interesting post at MLB Trade Rumors, where Tim Dierkes outlines the numerous players that could be non-tender candidates this winter. As Tim notes, the tender deadline for arbitration-eligible players is December 2nd, meaning that teams have to choose whether or not to cast away some players to free agency.
Among the players Dierkes lists, the Blue Jays had only one candidate and it was an interesting one at that; Esmil Rogers.
Rogers is an interesting case in that, as a swing-man between the rotation and bullpen, he ended up playing a huge role with the 2013 club. At the end of the season, Rogers ended up making nearly as many starts as he did relief appearances.
The problem for Rogers is that he quite honestly wasn’t overly impressive in either role. He had his moments of brilliance, followed by others of complete loss. Interestingly enough, his strike-out rates were actually much higher as a starter (6.8 K/9) compared to as a reliever (4.4).
Rogers has openly campaigned for a starting role in 2014, but the Blue Jays are known to want to improve the rotation drastically, which would indicate that Rogers doesn’t have a place in it. As a first year arbitration-eligible player, MLBtr projects his 2014 salary as $1 million, if Toronto chooses to tender him.
That said, his tender fate may be tied more into the planned moves of the team than anything else. If Toronto chooses to pursue a starter through free agency, Rogers could be a cut victim. If the Blue Jays instead look to use their bullpen wealth to aid in finding that piece, then Rogers may have a role with the club after all. However, with the deadline approaching in less than 4 weeks’ time, the team will likely have to make a decision prior to making any serious moves with the club.
This one will definitely bear watching as the offseason gets underway, but in the meantime we can speculate. Do you think the Blue Jays will non-tender Esmil Rogers?