NEW YORK (AP) — As Scott Kazmir and Willie Bloomquist found new teams and other big-money free agents negotiated, dozens of players with lower profiles waited to find out whether they would be dumped on the market by their clubs Monday night.
Teams had until midnight to offer 2014 contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man rosters. Once a player receives a contract offer, his team no longer can release him before the start of the season without giving him termination pay. That means a club would be responsible for about one-sixth of the salary, which could be a large amount if the player is eligible for arbitration.
Clubs often use the so-called tender deadline as leverage to force agreements with players they won't go to arbitration with. Among the players let loose were Boston right-hander Andrew Bailey and outfielder Ryan Kalish, Mets right-hander Jeremy Hefner and Kansas City infielder Chris Getz.
There were a pair of trades as the deadline approached. Washington obtained right-hander Doug Fister from Detroit for infielder Steve Lombardozzi and left-handers Robbie Ray and Ian Krol. Fister was 14-9 with a 3.67 ERA last season for the AL Central champions, who last month traded slugging first baseman Prince Fielder to Texas for second baseman Ian Kinsler.
"It gives us some flexibility for some other things we want to do," Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said, insisting the trade wasn't made to free money for a long-term deal for AL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, who can leave after next season.
Fister joins a talented Nationals rotation that already includes Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann and Gio Gonzalez.
With an excess of catching after reaching an agreement to sign Brian McCann, the New York Yankees traded Chris Stewart to Pittsburgh for a player to be named. The Yankees also finalized a $5 million, two-year contract with shortstop Brendan Ryan, who became their starter in September when Derek Jeter went back on the disabled list.