Alvarez non-tendered by Marlins, becomes free agent
Reliever Crow not offered, but 8 arb-eligible players will return to Miami
MIAMI -- Henderson Alvarez, the Marlins' Opening Day starter who underwent right shoulder surgery in July, is now a free agent after being non-tendered by the club on Wednesday.
The decision was not surprising due to the injury issues and the skepticism that the 25-year-old would be ready for the start of the 2016 season. Reliever Aaron Crow, who missed the entire season due to Tommy John surgery, also was non-tendered.
Miami had to make decisions on 10 arbitration-eligible players, and it tendered eight. The list was headlined by Jose Fernandez, the team's ace, All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria. Also tendered were relievers A.J. Ramos, Carter Capps and Bryan Morris and starters Tom Koehler and David Phelps.
By tendering a player, a club retains control of the player and then must work toward deciding a salary for 2016.
According to projections by MLB Trade Rumors, Fernandez is expected to make $2.2 million, Gordon $5.9 million, Hechavarria $2.3 million, Koehler $3.9 million, Ramos $2.8 million, Phelps (who was shut down in late August due to a stress fracture in his right forearm) $2.5 million, Capps $800,000, Morris $1.1 million.
An All-Star in 2014, Alvarez was expected to assume the No. 1 starter role in the first half of '15 until Fernandez recovered from his Tommy John surgery.
"A very difficult decision because he has been a big part of everything we have done since we acquired him in the offseason of 2012," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "He's been an All-Star, been our Opening Day starter and been a productive member of our rotation. But as we looked into the offseason, we are going to need depth, and we're going to need innings. He's not going to be able to provide those for us for some time."
Even though Alvarez and Crow are now free agents, Hill added the Marlins are open to trying to sign either or both back on deals less than their projected arbitration numbers.
"We hope to keep the lines of communication open with both," Hill said. "Both are free agents, but if there is a creative way to keep them both, we'll look to do that."
Alvarez's season was cut short due to midseason surgery. In four starts, he was 0-4 with a 6.45 ERA. When healthy in 2014, Alvarez was among the more unsung pitchers in the National League, going 12-7 with a 2.65 ERA and three complete games.
But along with the shoulder, Alvarez also has been pitching for several seasons with a partial tear in his right elbow. Alvarez made $4 million in 2015 and was projected to make about the same in '16.
Alvarez began his throwing program in recent days. But the Marlins are unclear when the right-hander would be ready.
"It was step one in a long process," Hill said. "It was playing catch. It was not even to the point where you could even envision or gauge when he would be able to return."
Miami discussed trade possibilities, but found there wasn't a market for pitcher not expected to be ready for the start of the season.
Acquired from Toronto as part of a 12-player trade in November of 2012, Alvarez was 17-17 with a 3.23 ERA in 51 starts, including four complete games as a Marlin. His signature performance came when he no-hit the Tigers in the '13 season-finale.
Crow was acquired from the Royals in November of 2014, but he never threw a pitch for Miami. He opened the season on the disabled list and had Tommy John surgery in early April. The right-hander was projected to make $1.975 million in arbitration.