Non-Tendered Class of 2009 (Position Players)

As dawn broke Saturday morning, almost 40 players found themselves non-tendered and freshly dunked into the free agent waters.  Some of the names were surprising (Matt Capps) and some were completely expected (John Buck).  Surprising or not, in the next two posts you will get a complete rundown of all the players who were non-tendered on Friday.

In addition to the non-tendered players, there were four players who were released on Thursday.  I have included those 4; Andy Green, Santiago Casilla, Zach Segovia and Mike Jacobs in my write-up.  While they weren’t non-tendered, they have been added to the market just the same.

  • Catcher:
    • Buck, John (29) [Royals] didn’t even last a full day on the market before being snatched up by the Toronto Blue Jays on a 1-year $2 million contract.  On the surface, this makes the Jason Kendall signing look worse, but I find it hard to believe that Buck had any interest in returning to the Royals at a reduced rate.  Going to arbitration was a risky road for Kansas City to take so in the end, non-tendering him was the right thing to do.  I won’t say as much about signing Kendall.
    • Chavez, Raul (36) [Blue Jays], like Buck, was quickly signed to a contract after being non-tendered.  Toronto got him back by way of a minor league deal for the 2010 season.  In 2009 he hit 0.258/.285/.346 in 159 AB.  All three of his slash stats in ’09 were well above his career marks of 0.231/.266/.304.
    • Riggans, Shawn (29) [Rays] hit 0.143/.143/.357 in 14 AB in 2009.  In his 188 career ML at bats he’s hit just 0.202/.266/.356.
    • Rivera, Mike (33) [Brewers] hit 0.228/.326/.342 in 114 AB last season.  For his career, he’s a 0.244/.305/.383 hitter in 528 major league at bats.
  • First Base:
    • Garko, Ryan (28) [Giants] hasn’t received a lot of attention since he was non-tendered which surprises me a little.  Last season he hit 0.268/.344/.421 in 354 AB and while those numbers are slightly down from his career marks of 0.279/.351/.441 they’re pretty close.  One of Garko’s biggest assets is his ability to hit LHP as his career slash stats against southpaws, 0.313/.392/.495, suggest.  From 2006-2009 his OPS+ has stayed between 101 and 119.  Defensively he has a -4.6 UZR/150 at 1B for his career, but he was better in 2009 coming in at +6.2.  With Billy Butler locked in at 1B, Kila Ka’aihue waiting in AAA, and Alex Gordon as a potential option at the position, the Royals should be focused elsewhere.  That said, Garko is one of the better players to be non-tendered on Friday.
    • Jacobs, Mike  (29) [Royals] hit 0.228/.297/.401 in 434 AB during the 2009 season.  We all watched this train wreck play out in slow motion and I feel like the Royals owe me something because of it.  He put up the worst slash stats of his entire career in 2009 and much of the blame for that falls on Trey Hillman who insisted on playing him against LHP.  Thanks to SABR Trey, Mike had 101 (!) at bats against lefties and hit a dreadful 0.178/.252/.248 off of them.  He did hit 1 of his 19 HR off a southpaw so I guess in Trey’s mind that made it okay.  It was a bad trade to begin with, but the manager certainly didn’t do Jacobs any favors.  His best chance to be rejuvenated is to find an organization with a more “enlightened” manager.
    • Whitesell, Josh (27) [Diamondbacks] got his first real chance in the big leagues but couldn’t capitalize.  His 108 AB resulted in a 0.194/.346/.287 line.  He’s had some nice years in the minors with some pretty good pop, but his major league window is closing fast.
  • Second Base:
    • Green, Andy (32) [Mets] has hit 0.200/.282/.265 in 230 career at bats in parts of 4 seasons.  In 2009 he only managed to get 5 plate appearances and his 0.261/.346/.379 line in the minors isn’t worth getting excited about either.
    • Johnson, Kelly (27) [Braves] already has the Pirates, Cardinals, Astros, and Diamondbacks expressing interest despite the fact that he is coming off the worst season in his 4 year major league career.  He hit 0.224/.303/.389 in 303 AB in 2009 and as a result, his career numbers dropped to 0.264/.346/.430.  After a -7.9 UZR/150 in 2007 and -10.7 UZR/150 in 2008, he was almost in the positive for 2009 finishing with a -0.2 UZR/150.  I’ve been a Kelly Johnson fan for a while, although I’m not doing any bragging about picking him high in the draft of my keeper league last season.  With Chris Getz, Alberto Callaspo, and Mike Aviles already in the mix for the 2010 season, the Royals don’t need another body at 2B.  For a team that does have a need, however, Johnson could provide a nice return on the investment.
  • Third Base:
    • Atkins, Garrett (30) [Rockies] finished the 2009 season with an OPS+ of just 66.  That’s what happens when you hit 0.224/.303/.389 in 303 at bats.  I’ll refrain from listing his home/road splits.  It’s time to move on.
    • Brown, Matt (27) [Angels] has 24 career major league at bats and a 0.042/.148/.083 slash line to go with them.  He’s been okay in the minors hitting 0.269/.349/.461 in 9 seasons so I’m sure he could do better if he was given more big league at bats.  How much better is anyone’s guess but I hope he gets a chance to improve his -37 OPS+ to something in the positive at least.
  • Outfield:
    • Amezaga, Alfredo (31) [Marlins] hit 0.217/.267/.261 in 69 AB last season.  It was a down year and a small sample size.  For his career he’s a 0.251/.311/.341 hitter capable of playing everywhere except catcher.  Amezaga is still recovering from July microfracture surgery that was performed on his left knee.  Despite the injury and the down year, his versatility will land him a job somewhere.
    • Anderson, Brian N. (27) [Red Sox] has a career slash line of 0.227/.290/.370 in 799 at bats over 5 major league seasons.  He did a little better in 2009 hitting 0.243/.328/.347 in 202 at bats.  Anderson is destined to sign a minor league contract this winter.
    • Anderson, Josh (27) [Royals] was looking good coming off a 2008 season that saw him hit 0.294/.338/.426 in 136 AB for the Atlanta Braves.  2009 was a much different story as he hit 0.240/.276/.304 between Detroit and Kansas City.  Like Brian N, Josh is destined to sign a minor league deal.
    • Cust, Jack (30) [Athletics] has led the AL in SO the last three seasons, but he has also drawn 309 walks and hit 84 HR in that time.  A career 0.239/.374/.455 hitter, he put up a 0.240/.356/.417 slash line in 2009.  He is an absolute butcher in the field (career -20.4 UZR/150 in the OF), but his bat offers enough potential reward to land him a decent major league contract this offseason.  I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Royals uniform next season provided Trey never writes anything other than DH next to his name on the lineup card.  The way things roll in KC these days I can see a lineup with Guillen in RF and Cust in LF.  Maybe the Royals should pass on Cust after all.
    • Gomes, Jonny (29) [Reds] bounced back from a nightmarish 2008 with the Rays to hit 0.267/.338/.541 in his first season with Cincinnati.  He’s a career 0.241/.330/.471 hitter but his -22.3 career UZR/150 places him solidly in the defensive butcher class right alongside Jack Cust.  He is open to staying with the Reds, but with his defensive stylings fresh in the team’s mind, he may be bound for the AL as a DH.
    • Gross, Gabe (30) [Rays] was very capably covered today by Matt Klaassen on FanGraphs.  For his career he’s hit 0.239/.337/.399 and has played excellent defense in RF.  I’m guessing he will get paid more than Dayton Moore is willing to offer, and I’m okay with that.  If defense is really a priority this winter than I am sure Gross is on the team’s radar.
    • Langerhans, Ryan (29) [Mariners] hit just 0.218/.311/.386 in 101 at bats but did put up a 21.0 UZR/150 in the OF.  He’s a 0.232/.332/.379 career hitter with an OPS+ of 86.  Throw in the defense and you get a 2009 WAR of 0.5.  Thanks to the glove and the respectable OBP he’ll find a home as a 4th or 5th OF in 2010.
    • Reed, Jeremy (28) [Mets] is a career 0.255/.312/.357 hitter with parts of 6 major league seasons to his credit.  In 2009 he hit 0.242/.301/.304 in 161 at bats.  Reed was a hell of a prospect heading into the 2004 season with the Mariners but he has never sniffed living up to the hype.  To make matters worse, he’s not the strongest defensive player around.  Really he’s far from it, but I’m trying to be nice.
    • Sullivan, Cory (30) [Mets] hit 0.250/.338/.382 in 2009 and now has a career 0.276/.331/.389 slash line.  In terms of OPS+, last season was actually his best as he finished with a mark of 92.  Defensively he’s below average with a -8.3 UZR/150 as an OF.  The sample sizes are small, but he might be passable with the glove playing LF or RF.

Due to time limitations and the fact this is getting quite long, I’m going to have to split this post up into two parts.  Since I covered the position players in above, I’ll cover the pitchers who were non-tendered tomorrow.  Actually, since it is well after midnight, I suppose I should say that I will cover the pitchers tonight.

(Wally Fish is Kings of Kauffman’s lead blogger.  Subscribe to his RSS feed and add him on Twitter to follow him daily.)