The free-agent pool got a boost on Monday, with former closers John Axford and Andrew Bailey among the biggest names cut loose ahead of the 11:59 p.m. ET non-tender deadline.

Teams had until that time to offer -- or tender -- contracts to arbitration-eligible players. A non-tendered player immediately becomes a free agent and can sign with any team, including the one that just made him available.

Though most decisions are relatively easy, some clubs faced tough choices about whether to open a precious 40-man roster spot or hold on to a player who might be coming off a down year, have injury concerns or be due for a significant raise.

While Bailey is one of the most high-profile players to be non-tendered, he also is due for a roughly $4.5 million salary despite coming off right shoulder surgery that could prevent him from being ready for Opening Day. The two-time All-Star posted a 3.77 ERA and eight saves last season for the Red Sox, who also non-tendered outfielder Ryan Kalish.

Boston's World Series opponent also parted ways with an expensive ex-closer. Axford, whom the Cardinals acquired from the Brewers in August, had a 1.74 ERA in limited action for St. Louis but also made $5 million last year.

One of the most intriguing names on the non-tender list is that of D-backs righty Daniel Hudson, who hasn't pitched since early in the 2012 season and now is recovering from a second Tommy John surgery that could keep him out for much of -- if not all -- of '14. MLB.com reported last week that the two sides were talking about a contract that would have avoided arbitration, but they never came to terms.