To "tender" a contract to a player is to agree to give a contract for the upcoming season to a player who is under club control. Players on the 40-man roster with fewer than six years of Major League service time must be tendered contracts or they will be considered "non-tendered" and immediately made eligible for free agency. Contracts must be tendered to both arbitration-eligible and pre-arbitration players, though the latter group has no say in its forthcoming salary.
Tendering a contract to an arbitration-eligible player does not mean that the two sides set a specific salary, but rather that they agree to come to terms on a salary between the date of the tender and late February. If the two sides cannot come to terms on a salary or multi-year deal, an arbitration hearing will be held and a panel of arbitrators will determine his salary. The offseason deadline for clubs to tender contracts to eligible players typically falls in early December.
Having accrued more than five but fewer than six years of service time, Brandon Moss was eligible for one more round of arbitration following the 2015 season. The Cardinals tendered a contract to Moss and ultimately agreed to a one-year, $8.25 million deal with him to avoid arbitration.