The non-tender deadline was on Wednesday and there were a fair share of surprises including former SF Giants power-hitting prospect Adam Duvall hitting the open market.
Former SF Giants infielder Adam Duvall was not tendered a contract yesterday by Atlanta, which thereby makes him a free agent, first reported by Jeff Passan of ESPN. This is a mild surprise after Duvall turned in a solid 2020 campaign in which he registered a .237/.301/.532 line (113 OPS+) with 16 home runs and 33 RBI across 209 plate appearances.
The right-handed bat was scheduled to earn between $4.4 – $7.1 million in his second trip through arbitration, per MLB Trade Rumors. Given his massive power output at the plate, it would have seemed like an easy decision, but Atlanta joined most MLB franchises in their manipulation of the current arbitration and free-agency system.
Duvall was originally drafted by the Giants in the 11th round of the 2010 draft as a third baseman. After mashing his way through the minor leagues he struggled to find playing time in San Francisco and was sent to the Reds as part of a package for Mike Leake. He moved to left field and has carved out a productive career.
In parts of seven MLB seasons, the 32-year-old has slashed .233/.293/.468 line (97 OPS+) with 113 home runs and 329 RBI. Of course, this also includes a very high 27.2 percent strikeout rate. He does not walk at a high-rate, as evidenced by his 6.8 percent walk rate, but he does hit a lot of home runs. He frequently demonstrates two of the three true outcomes (strikeouts, walk, home run) of the modern-day hitter.
Nevertheless, his career includes a 2016 National League All-Star selection. Furthermore, defensive metrics paint a favorable picture of his work in the outfield as he has been worth 42 DRS and 14.8 UZR since he debuted back in 2014.
While Duvall will be sent to free agency with other notable power-hitting outfielders, like Kyle Schwarber, Duvall has an edge given his strong marks with the glove. Plus, he hammers left-handed pitchers to the tune of a .801 OPS in 575 plate appearances, so he makes sense for a team that needs a power-hitting, outfield bat.
Of course, given his early ties to the Giants, the question is would he be a fit to return to San Francisco? Well, Henry Schulman of The San Francisco Chronicle poured some cool water on that fire, expecting Duvall to return to Atlanta at a cheaper price.
Adam Duvall should be able to land a major league deal this winter, but clearly not at his projected arbitration price tag. The former SF Giants prospect is an unexpectedly late entrant to the free-agent market, but the activity should gain momentum going forward.