Twins Non-Tender Cron and Hildenberger
Image courtesy of Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY SportsCron, who was projected to earn around $7.5 million next year via his final turn at arbitration, was always a dubious bet to be locked in at that rate, despite the solid production in his first year with the Twins. His fate seemingly became sealed in recent weeks, with GM Thad Levine noting that the 29-year-old's postseason wrist surgery was "significant."
Minnesota still has the option of bringing back Cron at a lower rate, and they may very well explore it, but for now, a wealth of possibilities open up. Among them: shifting Miguel Sano to first base and adding a new third baseman (or going with Marwin Gonzalez at one of those spots).
Meanwhile, the decision to non-tender Hildenberger falls into a different category. He wasn't eligible for arbitration, but the Twins elected not to tender him a 2020 contract, thus making him a free agent and clearing his spot on the 40-man roster. Like with Cron, the Twins have the option of pursuing Hildenberger on the open market (and I personally hope they do).
The rest of the arbitration-eligible pack was tendered, including: Trevor May, Eddie Rosario, Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Taylor Rogers, Jose Berrios, Tyler Duffey, Matt Wisler, and Ehire Adrianza. The latter, Adrianza, inked a one-year deal worth $1.6 million – a modest $300K raise for a versatile player coming off his best offensive season.
We'll now have to wait and see how salaries shake out for those other players, who can exchange numbers with the club up until the January 10th submission deadline. Usually teams and players find middle ground smoothly (we estimated where those figures might land in the Offseason Handbook), but differences in perceived value can emerge and cause friction. I've suggested this may happen with the Twins and Rosario. We'll see.
Intriguing non-tenders from elsewhere around the league include A's reliever Blake Treinen and D-backs starter Taijuan Walker. With Cron and Hildenberger removed, the Twins now have five open spots on the 40-man roster.
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