Making sense of Orioles' tender/non-tender decisions

The Orioles had nine players on their 40-man roster who were eligible for arbitration and had to be tendered a contract by midnight Monday (I'm not counting reliever Willie Eyre, who was designated for assignment last week and taken off the roster. But, for the record, he did not receive a 2012 contract).

Of those nine, the Orioles tendered contracts to seven: outfielder Adam Jones, infielder Robert Andino and pitchers Jim Johnson, Jeremy Guthrie, Brad Bergesen, Darren O'Day and Dana Eveland.


They didn't offer contracts to two players – outfielder Luke Scott and lefty pitcher Jo-Jo Reyes, allowing both players to become free agents.

Now that doesn't mean that Scott and Reyes can't come back to the Orioles in 2012. The Orioles could offer the two lesser deals than what they would have made in arbitration.


I can't see that happening with Reyes, but it could with Scott, who made $6.4 million in an injury-shortened campaign in 2011. His salary can be reduced only by a maximum of 20 percent in arbitration – and it's unlikely that would happen. So Scott would be in line for at least $6 million, if not more, next year if he and the team had gone to arbitration.

The club's hope is that Scott agrees to a more affordable, one-year, incentive-loaded, make-good deal as he heads into free agency after 2012. It's an understandable gamble considering Scott is coming off July shoulder surgery and likely won't get close to $6 million in the open market. Plus, Scott likes Baltimore, so, all things being equal, he'd like to stay and the Orioles would like to keep him.

But there's always the possibility another club swoops in and offers Scott a much better deal.

As for Bergesen or Guthrie or any of the other arbitration-eligible players offered contracts on Monday, they could still be traded this offseason.

So there is no guarantee that just because they were tendered a contract Monday that they will be on the roster on Opening Day.