Reds face non-tender deadline

Chapman, Cozart, Hoover expected to receive offers by Wednesday night, while Mattheus may not

Reds face non-tender deadline

CINCINNATI -- More players and potential bargains will be added to the free-agent market this week with Major League Baseball's non-tender deadline looming late Wednesday. The budget-conscious Reds might have the opportunity to fill holes later this winter at more reasonable prices.

Teams have until 11:59 ET tonight to tender 2016 contracts to all of their unsigned players. A player that non-tendered is effectively released from his club and becomes a free agent able to sign with any of the 30 Major League clubs.

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This is generally a formality for pre-arbitration players earning salaries near the league minimum. For some players due significant raises in arbitration, it's worth keeping an extra eye on the clock.

The Reds have four arbitration-eligible players in closer Aroldis Chapman (third year), shortstop Zack Cozart (second year), setup reliever J.J. Hoover (first year) and middle reliever Ryan Mattheus (first year).

Chapman, Cozart and Hoover are virtually assured of being offered a contract -- though the final dollar figure will come through negotiations that come ahead of arbitration hearings in February. Mattheus is not a lock to get an offer, but also shouldn't be expensive to retain.

Mattheus, 32, was claimed off of waivers from the Angels on May 13 and posted a 4.09 ERA in 55 innings over 57 appearances. He retired 39 of his 57 first batters faced and stranded 13 of his 19 inherited runners.

While Mattheus was highly susceptible to contact with 67 hits allowed, a 1.53 WHIP that was the highest among qualifying Reds relievers and only 35 strikeouts, he kept the ball in the ballpark and gave up only three home runs. Opposing batters hit .296/.349/.398 against him.

Mattheus was durable and often able to work back-to-back nights. As the Reds seek to revamp a bullpen that struggled in 2015, he could be a veteran in the mix to compete for a spot in the middle innings.

The Reds had other arbitration-eligible players entering the offseason in outfielders Brennan Boesch and Jason Bourgeois and reliever Sam LeCure, but they were sent outright off of the roster in November.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.