Teams must tender contracts to certain players by tomorrow; three KC Royals are obvious “non-tender” candidates who will become free agents unless tendered.
The final out of the 2020 World Series marked the end of the most unique season in major league history. Hours later, baseball’s clock struck Midnight and the offseason began in earnest when all players eligible for free agency, including some KC Royals, officially became free agents.
Then came Nov. 1, the deadline for teams to make qualifying offers to their free agents, which had to be accepted or rejected by Nov. 11. Nine days later, 40-man rosters had to be set for Rule 5 draft purposes.
The next big deadline is 8 p.m. ET tomorrow—clubs have until then to tender (offer) one-year contracts to members of their 40-man rosters with less than six years of major league service time. Tendered players can sign immediately, negotiate, or have their 2021 salaries determined via arbitration. Non-tendered players immediately become free agents.
So, the KC Royals must soon decide whether to tender contracts to 37 of their 40-man roster players; only Danny Duffy and Salvador Perez, each with over nine years of service time, and Whit Merrifield, who has less than six years but is on a contract extension through 2023, aren’t subject to the tender rule.
The chances of the Royals tendering all other 37 players aren’t good. While the club may offer one-year salaries it believes they’ll accept to several, or sign some to early contract extensions for the same reason and to buy out the first years of free agency, it may also have little incentive to sign, or risk unfavorable arbitration awards with, others.
There are, of course, Royals who’ll receive tenders or extensions because they’re too valuable to lose, such as Brad Keller, Adalberto Mondesi, Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, Josh Staumont, Daniel Tillo, Hunter Dozier, Nicky Lopez, and others, and some who are likely, but not assured, to get offers, including Maikel Franco and Jorge Soler.
But there are at least three Royals who may not be tendered or offered extensions. Let’s see who they are.