For Reds, non-tender decisions sit at two
Outfielder Heisey, reliever Ondrusek candidates with deadline on horizon
CINCINNATI -- The landscape of the free-agent market could be altered come Tuesday night with the arrival of the non-tender deadline. Players deemed too pricey to keep for their roles on one club could become the next bargain for another.
Teams have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Tuesday to tender 2015 contracts to all of their unsigned players. A player who is non-tendered is released from their club and becomes a free agent able to sign with any of the 30 Major League clubs.
Among the Reds, the only two candidates for being non-tendered are outfielder Chris Heisey and reliever Logan Ondrusek.
Heisey who has long been well-liked in the organization for his off-the-bench pop offensively and his outfield versatility defensively. He avoided arbitration and earned $1.76 million in 2014.
A fourth outfielder since reaching the Majors in 2010, there have been opportunities for Heisey, who will turn 30 on Dec. 14, to seize control of the regular left fielder's job the past two seasons. But he's been unable to grab it.
In 119 games last season, Heisey batted .222/.265/.378 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs. His wins-above-replacement number (WAR) was 0.9. His four pinch-hit homers led the Majors, however, and his 10 career pinch-hit homers are three shy of the team record. His best season was 2011, when he hit 18 homers with 50 RBIs in 120 games.
While the Reds are looking for a new regular left fielder, they currently have other outfielders on the roster that include Skip Schumaker, Donald Lutz and Jason Bourgeois.
Ondrusek has struggled the past two seasons after he received a two-year contract worth $2.3 million that covered his first two years of arbitration eligibility. He was 3-3 with a 5.49 ERA in 40 appearances in 2014. Over 41 innings, he allowed 50 hits and 16 walks while striking out 42. Of Ondrusek's 40 first batters faced, 24 were retired, and he let nine of his 25 inherited runners score.
The Reds are looking to upgrade in their bullpen after the group endured a down year in which it finished 14th out of 15 National League clubs in ERA.
Cincinnati has nine players eligible for raises via arbitration. They are: closer Aroldis Chapman (second year); shortstop Zack Cozart (first year); third baseman Todd Frazier (first year); Heisey (third year); starting pitcher Mat Latos (third year); starting pitcher Mike Leake (third year); catcher Devin Mesoraco (first year); Ondrusek (second year); and starting pitcher Alfredo Simon (third year).