An arbitration-eligible player is typically non-tendered if a team feels that keeping him through the arbitration process would be too expensive. Space on a 40-man roster and other concerns -- performance and injuries chief among them -- play into the decision, too.
Among the more established players who became free agents are first baseman Mark Reynolds (Orioles), and starting pitchers John Lannan (Nationals) and Mike Pelfrey (Mets). The Beard, Giants right-hander Brian Wilson, was also non-tendered.
"Baltimore was my first choice," said Reynolds, 29, who has a combined 60 home runs over the last two seasons. "[I have] a lot of ties to Baltimore and the city and a lot of good friends on the team. My family likes it there, I liked it there. Camden [Yards was] packed toward the end of the season. It was fun, having those passionate fans. I'm going to miss it. But at the same time, I'm going to see what's out there."
Being non-tendered doesn't necessarily mean the door is closed on a potential return. Take left-handed reliever Rich Hill, one of three the Red Sox non-tendered on Friday, along with outfielder Ryan Sweeney and fellow reliever Scott Atchison. Hill was non-tendered by the Sox in 2011, too, and he ended up being re-signed.
At least one team, the Reds, is planning to wait until Saturday morning to announce its tender decisions. The Dodgers and Twins also made no announcement after the deadline, although they're not expected to have any non-tenders.
And while the Rays and D-backs were among the teams that made announcements late, plenty of decisions were handed down during the day.
In the American League, there was Jermaine Mitchell (A's); Bobby Wilson (Blue Jays); Jack Hannahan, Rafael Perez and Chris Seddon (Indians); Robert Andino (Mariners), who was re-signed after being non-tendered; Jake Brigham, Brandon Snyder and Geovany Soto (Rangers); Reynolds, Stuart Pomeranz and Omar Quintanilla (Orioles); Ben Francisco (Rays); Derrick Robinson (Royals); Atchison, Hill and Sweeney (Red Sox); Daniel Schlereth (Tigers); and Anthony Carter and Dan Johnson (White Sox).
In the National League, the Cubs let Ian Stewart, Jaye Chapman and Zach Putnam hit free agency. Also on the market now are Jair Jurrjens and Peter Moylan (Braves); Manny Parra (Brewers); Wil Nieves (D-backs); Pelfrey, Manny Acosta and Andres Torres (Mets); Juan Oramas (Padres); and Jeff Karstens (Pirates). The Phillies are expected to non-tender Nate Schierholtz.
Of course, the flip side is that many players were tendered contracts, and some took things a step further by agreeing to a deal. Doing so ensures that they avoid not only the possibility of being non-tendered but the possibility of heading to arbitration.
Among the more well-known players who signed contracts on Friday are Phil Humber, who signed with the Astros after they claimed him off waivers, and Jayson Nix, who's back with the Yankees.