Friday brought the next big offseason deadline for the Orioles and other teams, with decisions needing to be made about which players to tender contracts - and which not to - for the 2024 season. The O’s had a lot of choices to make at this deadline, with 17 players on the 40-man roster eligible for arbitration for next season. When things were announced, the team decided to bring back all 17.
The full list of tenders, in alphabetical order by last name: Danny Coulombe, Austin Hays, Cole Irvin, John Means, Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, Ryan O’Hearn, Cionel Pérez, Anthony Santander, Dillon Tate, Ramón Urías, Jacob Webb, and Tyler Wells.
Additionally, the Orioles announced that the team has already agreed on 2024 contracts with four more players who are arbitration-eligible: Keegan Akin, Sam Hilliard, Jorge Mateo, and Ryan McKenna.
Some of these were easy choices. There was not much chance of the outfield group of Santander, Mullins, and Hays ending up among the non-tender group, or Means or Coulombe, among others. Players who seemed to have lost their roles as the 2023 season went along, such as Urías, were more on the borderline.
There could still be trades involving the players who were tendered even after this. The tender just keeps players under the team’s control rather than having them become a free agent immediately. Non-tendered players also come off the 40-man roster. It is almost certain that not all 17 of these players will be in the organization come Opening Day 2024. Out of options players who don’t perform in spring training could be designated for assignment then, if not sooner.
Making room on the 40-man was probably not much of a motivation for the Orioles in making their decisions on Friday. After outrighting a couple of players earlier in the week and choosing not to protect any newly-Rule 5-eligible players, the team had four open spots. They did not create any more room with non-tenders.
For some teams, the tender deadline is an opportunity to trade away players they might have non-tendered instead, or acquire other teams players rather than have them become free agents. The Atlanta Braves and Chicago White Sox just did a five-for-one swap centered around reliever Aaron Bummer that relieved Atlanta of a couple of its non-tender candidates. One other player who was traded was Urías’s brother, Luis, sent from Boston to Seattle in the minutes before the deadline.