Deadline looms for A's to tender contracts

Melvin talks Bartolo Colon, targeting veterans and A's budget

Deadline looms for A's to tender contracts
December 1, 2013, 7:00 pm
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Daric Barton hit .269/.350/.375 in 37 games while Seth Smith had eight home runs and 40 RBI in 117 games in 2013. (USATSI)

The A’s must decide by Monday night whether to tender contracts to nine players eligible for salary arbitration.

The group consists of pitchers Jerry Blevins, Jesse Chavez and Fernando Rodriguez; first basemen Daric Barton and Brandon Moss; catcher John Jaso; shortstop Jed Lowrie and outfielders Josh Reddick and Seth Smith.

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Those tendered by Monday’s 9 p.m. deadline remain under team control, and the A’s will work to negotiate contracts with them (typically one-year deals) and avoid going before an arbitration panel to decide a salary. Non-tendered players will become free agents.

The A’s seemingly face tough decisions on a few players.

Smith, in his third year of arbitration eligibility, is due a salary in excess of $4 million. He often was the odd man out in playing time among A’s outfielders last season, and with touted prospect Michael Choice available for an increased role – not to mention the fact the A’s could look to acquire an outfielder this winter – Smith could be a non-tender candidate.

Barton saw increased playing time down the stretch in 2013 despite being booted from the 40-man roster twice earlier in the season. He’s likely due a salary in the $1.5 million range. The A’s may deem him expendable considering Moss’ emergence at first base and the presence of the right-handed hitting Nate Freiman as a potential platoon option.

Oakland’s trade for left-handed middle reliever Fernando Abad could put Blevins on the bubble. But Blevins, a member of the A’s bullpen since 2007, is more of a known quantity than Abad. And if left-hander Sean Doolittle winds up in the closer’s role, the A’s might prefer having two lefty relief arms available earlier in the game, which would point toward Blevins being tendered.

[RELATED: A's acquire LHP Abad from Nationals]

Rodriguez, a right-handed reliever, was sidelined the entire 2013 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery and represents a potential non-tender candidate. But he’s not slated to make much money in his first year of arbitration eligibility. The A’s could offer a contract and give Rodriguez a chance to win a roster spot in spring training.

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