Deadline arriving to tender contracts to arbitration-eligibles

The Orioles are plunging into a new week with Dylan Bundy still on the roster and a candidate to be traded or non-tendered. The deadline for the latter is 8 p.m. tonight.

There are seven arbitration-eligible players on the club, including reliever Richard Bleier, who’s going to be tendered a contract. I’m hearing that significant progress was made yesterday on a new deal to avoid arbitration. He’ll be back in the bullpen.

Bleier made $572,500 this season and projected that he’ll earn $1.1 million in 2020.

Coming back from lat surgery in June 2018, Bleier posted a 5.37 ERA in 55 1/3 innings after keeping it below 2.00 in each of his first three seasons. But he had a 3.68 ERA and 1.159 WHIP in 29 1/3 innings after the break and allowed five runs in 15 1/3 innings in September.

Manager Brandon Hyde trusts him. That means a lot on this team.

Bleier wasn’t a non-tender candidate. There are others who belong on that list ahead of him.

Infielder Jonathan Villar remains on outright waivers. Teams have until 1 p.m. to claim him.

Villar-Alberto-Celebrate-16th-Inning-Homer-Gray-Sidebar.jpgSocial media erupted after news broke that the Orioles put Villar on waivers, with fans and some media crushing them for it. However, no team has been willing to claim Villar or trade for him. They don’t seem to want a salary that projects will jump from $4.825 million to $10.4 million.

There will be multiple suitors if he becomes a free agent, as expected. A contract can be constructed, perhaps covering more than one season, that appeals to both sides.

The Orioles could attempt to work out their own deal. Villar likes playing for them, likes the opportunities to play shortstop, which could increase if Richie Martin is optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. But it’s all about money and Villar is lined up to make too much of it in arbitration.

Villar was outstanding for the Orioles this season - and it’s still this season until Jan. 1. One of five players to appear in 162 games. The sixth Oriole in history to notch at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season. Only the second 20/40 season in club history.

Hit for the cycle. Hit the 6,106th home run of the season to set a major league record. Set career highs across the board. But he’s a free agent after 2020 and the Orioles aren’t contending with or without him.

Would there be less heat on the club if it just non-tendered him rather than going through the waiver process? Or is cutting ties bringing a harsh reaction no matter the tactic?

For what it’s worth, the Orioles didn’t announce Villar’s placement on waivers. It leaked and became public.

As for Bundy, who made $2.8 million this year, there are multiple teams contacting executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias in trade talks.

Elias isn’t pressed to move Bundy, who is under team control through the 2021 season. However, money saved in the deal - Bundy’s upcoming raise might push his salary to $5.7 million per could be redirected to players also receiving bumps in pay.

This is where the franchise stands. You have the right to vent, but this is the reality.

Bundy was 7-14 with a 4.79 ERA and 1.355 WHIP in 30 starts this summer, but he registered a 3.99 ERA in 10 starts in August and September. The rotation already has been a weakness on the club and removing Bundy would present more challenges.

The other arbitration-eligibles are outfielder/infielder Trey Mancini, relievers Mychal Givens and Miguel Castro and infielder Hanser Alberto. The following are their 2019 salaries and’s projections for next season:

Mancini: $575,500/$5.7 million
Givens: $2.15 million/$3.2 million
Alberto: $578,000/$1.9 million
Castro: $569,000/$1.2 million

Mancini won’t be traded and he won’t be extended. He knows it. Everyone should know it. This isn’t news.

The Orioles aren’t handing out long-term deals while rebuilding.

Givens is certainly a trade candidate. There are plenty of teams that like him in the backend of the bullpen, though not necessarily as a closer.

It could happen later in the offseason.

Givens averaged 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings, but also 1.9 home runs. He registered a 1.93 ERA in the eighth inning and a 6.69 ERA in the ninth.

Nine of the 13 home runs surrendered came in the ninth.

Alberto couldn’t stay off the waiver wire last offseason and now he’s getting a salary that might approach $2 million. Batting average must count for some people.

Castro remains a source of frustration based on his inconsistency.

The Diamondbacks are expected to non-tender former Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph after they signed Stephen Vogt last week. He’ll hit the free agent market and the Orioles could be interested as they search for a veteran catcher to bring to spring training.

Meanwhile, former Orioles reliever Tayler Scott will pitch in Japan next year. He signed with the Hiroshima Carp for a reported $525,000 with a $175,000 bonus.

Scott was outrighted and became a minor league free agent after allowing 18 runs in 8 2/3 innings with the Orioles. He surrendered only one run in 16 innings with Triple-A Norfolk.

* I’m going to close here by playing along with a popular Twitter challenge and share a couple of unpopular non-sports opinions.

On food: Mint only belongs in toothpaste, not in food. And don’t get me started on cilantro.

On Thanksgiving sides: Sweet potatoes/yams are the bottom feeders. I’ll take pretty much anything over them. And give me cranberry sauce that jiggles out of the can. Your homemade efforts are appreciated, but they’re wasted on me.

On movies: The ending of “The Graduate” is terrible. Dustin Hoffman and Katharine Ross race out of the church, hop on a bus and say ... nothing. I mean come on. Give me something here.

A friend used to tease me about this. He asked, “What would you have them say?”

How about, “Wow, can you believe we did that?” Or, “How crazy is this?” Anything. Nobody would pull that stunt and sit in silence.

OK, thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I’ll pass along contract updates later today.

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