MLB: The most intriguing 2020 non-tender candidates

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - SEPTEMBER 12: Eddie Rosario #20 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates a home run against the Cleveland Indians during the game at Target Field on September 12, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Indians 8-4. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - SEPTEMBER 12: Eddie Rosario #20 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates a home run against the Cleveland Indians during the game at Target Field on September 12, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Indians 8-4. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

MLB teams have two weeks to decide which of their arbitration-eligible players get tendered a contract for 2021.

By 8 pm ET on Wednesday, December 2nd, MLB teams must make a decision as to whether or not they tender a non-guaranteed contract to any arbitration-eligible player on their roster or allow them to walk and enter free agency.

Early guesses by many national writers assume a larger than normal amount of players being non-tendered on December 2nd, an effect of the ongoing financial turmoil across the MLB landscape.

For those players who are non-tendered, they immediately become free agents and are free to sign with any MLB team ahead of the 2021 season for any amount.

Many of these arbitration-eligible players will be signed to a contract extension, while many will be traded over the coming weeks as teams look to part with players but acquire something in return. If the prognosticators are right, fans could be in for a busy upcoming holiday season.

So, who are some of the bigger names who may be non-tendered in the coming weeks? Here are five notable names to keep a close eye on.

Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber

With the Chicago Cubs ready to completely revamp their entire roster and slash payroll, many big names like Kyle Schwarber are suddenly on the market and available to other teams, possibly for a slightly lower asking price than in a normal offseason.

Schwarber’s case is interesting. He’s coming off back-to-back standout seasons in 2018 and 2019 in which he hit a combined 64 home runs and posted a near .350 on-base percentage with a wRC+ of 115 and 120. He appeared primed to take over as one of the top offensive threats in the National League, before 2020 struck.

Schwarber hit just .188 this season in 59 games, striking out 29.5% of the time and recording a wRC+ of 90 and a lowly 0.4 Wins Above Replacement value. But he did hit 11 home runs and continued to reach base at an impressive clip thanks to a high walk rate.

If Chicago wants to avoid running the risk of having to pay him north of a projected $8 million next season, Schwarber could be a non-tender candidate. Chicago could of course attempt to bring him back on a lighter contract, but if there’s another MLB team out there who likes his bat (like an AL team who can plug him at DH), his days in Chicago could be coming to a close.