Midnight this morning marked the deadline for teams to decide whether to tender or non-tender contracts to the players under their control with less than six years of service time. Those not receiving a contract offer become free to seek a new contract anywhere they please, just like a regular free agent. As usual, several interesting players were given the ol’ heave ho rather than a contract offer from their former clubs.

If there’s any common front office move that I find curious, it’s the way in which teams willingly give up assets, no matter how slight, to acquire replacement and barely above replacement level players. Doing so ahead of the non-tender deadline seems especially foolish considering the players that are bound to be available.

Take the Toronto Blue Jays. No, seriously, take them. Are Ben Francisco and Jeff Mathis, two players that the team recently acquired through trade, really all that much better than Ryan Spilborghs and Ronny Paulino, two players freshly made available after being non-tendered by the Colorado Rockies and New York Mets respectively?

Or what about the Chicago Cubs trading for Ian Stewart? Is he really that much of a better player than Jeff Keppinger, who was non-tendered by the San Francisco Giants?

It’s not as though these players are in high demand and a trade for them needs to take place ahead of the non-tender deadline, most of the barely above replacements being moved around during the early part of the off season are non-tender candidates themselves.

Here are a few other interesting options freshly available on the market:

  • Luke Scott, DH/1B: Had a bad year in 2011, but was one of the best DHs in baseball in 2010. Can devour RHP.
  • Ryan Theriot, SS: All I’m saying is that the St. Louis Cardinals were in first place in the NL Central when Theriot was the team’s starting shortstop for a brief spell last season. I’m not sure what happened after that.
  • Joe Saunders, LHP: Some team is going to overpay for this guy, and he’ll end up in the rotation where he probably doesn’t actually belong.
  • Jose Mijarles, LHP: A reliever who struggled to find his control last season after good strikeout numbers in 2009 and 2010. With a thin lefty relief market, Mijarles should do well out there.