Friday marked the date when teams sent a load of non-tendered players packing to join the already crowded free agent pool. Of those players, a large amount of whom are bottom-of-the-barrel type athletes, there are to be found a few possible sleepers:
Ty Wigginton - Probably the most sought-after non-tendered player on the market. Wigginton was let go by the Astros after signing a deal with them only a year ago. The now former Houston third baseman hit .285 last season with 23 homers in just 386 ABs. Wigginton is just 31 years old and is very consistant, hitting at least .275 with 22 HRs in each of his last three seasons, not to mention that he is versitile (having played second base for Tampa Bay two years ago) and can be picked up relatively cheaply at around $3.5 million a year. Apparently the Giants, Indians, Pirates, and Reds have all already shown interest.
Chris Capuano - After undergoing his second career Tommy John surgery Capuano didn't play at all during the 2008 season and was subsiquently not offered a contract by the Milwakee Brewers. In 29 starts in 2007 the lefty posted a 5-12 record, 5.10 ERA, and 132Ks. While those numbers are far from impressive, in his previous two seasons, which took place after his first Tommy John surgery, Capuano went 29-24 with a 3.99 ERA and pitched at least 220 innings both years. He might have to start the year on the DL, but the 30 year old is capable of keeping the ball around the plate (3:1 career K:BB ratio), and, if healthy, eating up some innings. For a couple million, this guy could be a steal for teams who are contenders but still have holes in their starting rotations like the Blue Jays, Twins, Cardinals, or even the Brewers.
Daniel Cabrera - The Orioles parted ways with this 5 year veteran on Friday after the hurler failed to post a winning record in any of the last four seasons. The 27 year old fireballer ended last year with an 8-10 mark and a 5.25 ERA. While Cabrera's final statistics are by no means head-turning, the fact that through through July first in 2008 he was able to compile a 5-1 record, 3.60 ERA and 10 straight quality starts, is what will land him a spot somewhere next year. Because he has a reputation (well deserved) of being unbelievably inconsistant, he will not be signing with any immediate contenders, but there are teams like the Padres (if they keep Peavy), Athletics, and Braves who have an outside shot at making a run at the playoffs and could afford to take a chance at around 2 million per. I could even see the Red Sox taking at a look at him and turing him into the long relief guy out of the pen, much like they did with Kyle Snyder a few year ago (very similar build and control issues).
Takashi Saito - The belief that the Dodgers are going to make a hard push for Trevor Hoffman has been confirmed by the team not offering 39 year old Takashi Saito a contract. Saito had a productive, but injury plagued 2008 campaign (4-4, 2.49, 60Ks in 47 IP) leading many teams to think his days as a quality bullpen arm are numbered. While not expected to sign anywhere as a closer, the Japanese born right hander could make his way to a legitimate team in need of an 8th inning type arm like the Diamondbacks, Giants, White Sox, or possibly even the Yankees.
Other notable non-tendered free agents include Joey Gathright (KC), Jonny Gomes (TB), Willy Taveras (COL), and Chuck James (ATL).