With tonight's non-tender deadline fast approaching, the New York Mets took the opportunity to trim some fat off their roster. The Mets non-tendered two players who were eligible for arbitration, reliever Scott Atchison and shortstop Omar Quintanilla, in order to clear some space for new player acquisitions. In a slight surprise, the Mets also added a third non-tender to a player who wasn't eligible for arbitration yet. That man was outfielder Jordany Valdespin, who sees his troubled tenure in Queens come to an end.
Non-tendering Atchison and Quintanilla doesn't come as a surprise. Atchison was effective for the Mets last season, going 3-3 with a 4.37 ERA while missing some time due to injury. Atchison's injury problems and age (37) made non-tendering him a no brainer. Atchison is interested in a return to the Mets according to Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News, but he is interested in exploring the free agent market first. Quintailla hit .222 as the team's starting shortstop last season, but the club appears determined to upgrade at the position this winter. Quintanilla's backup shortstop spot appears to have been taken by Justin Turner, but the Mets could opt to bring Quintanilla back on a minor league deal as well.
Valdespin's dismissal, first reported by ESPN New York's Adam Rubin, is not a real surprise. The writing had been on the wall for the talented but troubled Valdespin, who was turning into a clubhouse cancer. Valdespin threw a tantrum in the clubhouse after being demoted to the minor leagues in July, and later served a 50 game steroid suspension related to the Biogenesis scandal. Frankly, it is a surprise Valdespin lasted as long as he did on the roster. Valdespin will now try to latch on with another organization after the Mets apparently received no interest in him via trade. After these moves, the Mets have three open spots on the 40 man roster.
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