Which Hitters are Getting a Qualifying Offer this Offseason?

A decent chunk of my chat yesterday involved questions about whether or not certain players should be expected to receive a qualifying offer from their teams this winter, thus ensuring draft pick compensation for their current teams if they end up changing teams via free agency. So, instead of talking about a few players here and there in various chats, I figure it’s worth investigating all the potential free agents who may or may not receive such an offer.

For some background, Jeff Sullivan wrote up an explanation of the Qualifying Offer process last year, but the nuts and bolts are pretty simple: for teams with free agents to be who have been on their roster all season, they can make them an offer for one year equal to the average salary of the Top 125 paid players in MLB, and then the player has one week to explore their market and decide whether to accept the offer from their current team or continue on in free agency with draft pick compensation attached.

Last year, the qualifying offer was equal to $13.3 million, and teams tendered it to nine players: David Ortiz, Josh Hamilton, B.J. Upton, Hiroki Kuroda, Rafael Soriano, Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Kyle Lohse, and Adam LaRoche. All nine players declined the offer, and in each case, they ended up with better deals than accepting $13.3 million for just one season.

This year, the average is expected to go up slightly, reaching the $14 million mark or something close to it. So, let’s take a look at this free agent class and see who is worth that kind of offer. We’ll start with the position players, then do the pitchers later this afternoon.

Using the free agent leaderboards, I count five position players where the decision is fairly obvious to make the qualifying offer: Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, Hunter Pence, and Brian McCann.

These guys are generally considered the jewels of the upcoming free agent class, and are all likely to receive multi-year offers for more than $14 million per year. So, for this exercise, those players aren’t very interesting, because there’s not really much to discuss. The more fun players to analyze are the guys on the bubble, where an argument could be made in both directions. Let’s look at those guys one by one.

Curtis Granderson, OF, Yankees

Granderson has spent most of the year on the DL, but he’s been productive since returning, and is one of the better left-handed bats available this winter. The fact that the Yankees moved him off center field probably won’t help his value, even though he’s still plenty productive for a corner outfielder. Both ZIPS and Steamer see him about a .350 wOBA guy, so when you factor in his defensive and baserunning value, he grades out as roughly a +3 WAR player over a full season.

At 33, he’s probably not going to be able to land a long term deal, but the Yankees had to have seen what the market did for Shane Victorino after he didn’t get a QO last winter, and so their best chance to retain Granderson on a one or two year offer is to make draft pick compensation attach. With Alex Rodriguez‘s looming suspension, they should have money to spend this winter, and retaining Granderson on a short term deal seems like a good use of funds.

From Granderson’s perspective, he might just have to take the deal. If last year’s market is any indication, there probably won’t be a line out the door to give up a first round pick to sign a 33-year-old coming off an injury plagued season. Granderson is probably the player whose market is most likely to be tanked by receiving the QO, as would be pretty highly sought after if draft pick compensation wasn’t attached. But it should be, and probably will.

Conclusion: Make the offer.

Carlos Beltran, OF/DH, Cardinals

You could make a case that Beltran is simply the hitting version of Hiroki Kuroda or A.J. Burnett, an aging yet still productive player who won’t get a multi-year deal but is still worth a top salary. Beltran’s .370 wOBA makes him productive even as UZR thinks he’s been the worst defensive outfielder in baseball this year. Heading into his age-37 season, he should probably move to an AL team where he can DH regularly in order to keep his bat in the line-up more often.

Unfortunately for Beltran, it is almost impossible to see any team parting with a high draft pick for the right to sign a 37-year-old DH to a short term deal. If the Cardinals made Beltran the qualifying offer, he’d basically have no choice but to take it. However, with Oscar Taveras on the way and Matt Adams potentially pushing Allen Craig back to the outfield, the Cardinals might not have room for Beltran next season. They could simply do him the favor of not extending the QO if they don’t see him in their plans for 2014, but having him under contract at $14 million for one year wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world either.

Perhaps the best resolution for both parties would be to just avoid the entire process and come to a mutually beneficial arrangement involving a trade to an AL team, but MLB made it pretty clear last year that they wouldn’t allow sign-and-trades that circumvented the QO process. So, if we assume that a re-sign-and-trade is off the table, then the Cardinals should probably just let Beltran hit free agency unchained. Their money is likely better spent pursuing a shortstop and some additional pitching depth, and Beltran is probably best served moving to the league where he doesn’t have to play in the field every day. So, while he’s probably worth $14 million in isolation, it might be in both parties best interests to move on without the QO.

Conclusion: Don’t make the offer.

Mike Napoli, 1B/DH, Red Sox

Napoli nearly landed a three year, $39 million contract as an unencumbered free agent last winter, but the diagnosis of a degenerative hip disease caused the deal to be reworked into a one year, $5 million contract with incentives. Napoli has played well enough to dispel the notion that his hips will prematurely end his career, but that red flag is going to hang over him in every contract negotiation he ever has again.

And, just beyond the hip issue, there’s a question of whether Napoli is a $14 million player anymore. He’s racked up +2.5 WAR so far this year, but that’s with a .348 BABIP and a very friendly UZR rating at first base, which seems odd for an unathletic former catcher with hip problems. Napoli projects as something close to an average player going forward, and there’s no way anyone’s giving up a first round pick to sign an average player with degenerative hip issues. The Red Sox would probably love to get a pick if he signed elsewhere, but their options are more likely to either retain him for $14 million or let him hit the market again. Given their roster, they don’t need to spend $14 million on an average first baseman.

Conclusion: Don’t make the offer.

Stephen Drew, SS, Red Sox

Drew has turned out to be one of the best signings of the winter after they got him for $9.5 million on a one year deal over the off-season, as he’s provided quality production from a position where it isn’t so easy to find anymore. There’s a good chance Drew’s going to end the year with +3 WAR, and despite the fact that it seems like he’s been around forever, he’s only headed into his age-31 season.

However, he’s never been the healthiest guy in the world, and his replacement level 2012 performance still has to be a factor in deciding how much he gets paid going forward. He’s earned a raise over what he got as a free agent last winter, but is there really a mutli-year deal out there for Drew that is more attractive than $14 million for 2014? I doubt it, especially once you factor in the draft pick compensation. Like with Napoli, the Red Sox will essentially have to decide whether or not they’re willing to deal with the player accepting the offer if its made, which seems like a likely outcome in this situation.

With Xander Bogaerts around, my guess is probably not. The Sox aren’t going to want to pay $14 million to a guy who may very well end up as a backup to Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks, so Drew should be allowed to hit the market without draft pick compensation attached. With that stipulation removed, he’ll likely land a multi-year deal as a free agent, so Drew is an example of how this new system actually works to the benefit of the players at times, at least in opposition to the old Type A/Type B system.

Conclusion: Don’t make the offer.

Omar Infante, 2B, Tigers

Infante has had a monster season at the plate, posting a .348 wOBA that is easily the best mark of his career. Even while missing a couple of months due to injury, he’s still going to put up a +3 WAR season, and is one of the unsung heroes of the Tigers 2014 season. With Chase Utley off the market, he’s likely to be the most attractive second base option for teams that don’t want to pony up $200 million for Robinson Cano.

But, Infante is also going to be 32 next year, and he’s a second baseman who has traditionally been a below average hitter. He doesn’t have the profile of a guy who generally gets paid big money in free agency. However, as Victorino showed last winter, there is a market for this kind of player, especially when draft pick compensation isn’t attached. If the Tigers don’t make the qualifying offer to Infante, he’ll probably land a three year deal for north of $30 million. Martin Prado, a similar player with similar skills, got 4/40 from the Diamondbacks before he even reached free agency, so that might even be a low estimate.

The Tigers are going to have to eventually start making some tough decisions, with extensions for Max Scherzer and Miguel Cabrera looming, but Infante is too good to lose without getting something back. Even if he takes the offer, $14 million for an above average second baseman with no long term risk is a good deal for Detroit.

Conclusion: Make the offer.

Kendrys Morales, DH, Mariners

The Mariners have already tipped their hand; they are definitely planning on making him the qualifying offer at the end of the season. They had chances to trade him to contenders both in July and August, and declined both times, despite the fact that their playoff chances have been dead since not long after Opening Day. When asked about keeping a bad roster in tact rather than using free agents to be to acquire younger help for the future, Zduriencik noted that not trading the players gave them a better chance to retain them for 2014, a clear nod to the leverage that the qualifying offer gives them with Morales.

Now, there’s a pretty good argument to be made that Morales simply isn’t worth $14 million, even on a one year contract. It’s almost impossible to argue that he’s more valuable than Napoli or Beltran, and we’ve already declared that neither of those two should get the offer from their current teams. For comparison, Morales is basically the equal of the current version Adam Dunn, who is under contract for $15 million next season and was one of the first players to clear waivers in August. Teams don’t want to pay this kind of money for good-not-great hitters who can’t run or field.

On his own merits, Morales doesn’t deserve the offer. Unless they change GMs, however, the Mariners will almost certainly make him one, and then Morales will no choice but to accept, as there won’t be any market for his services once draft pick compensation attaches. Morales has some value, but he should realistically be shopping in the market that paid guys like Mark Reynolds, Luke Scott, Carlos Pena, and Lance Berkman $6-$10 million on one year deals over the last few years.

Conclusion: Don’t make the offer, but the Mariners will.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C, Red Sox

We’re already 2,000 words into this thing, so let’s be a little bit more brief. Salty’s a quality catcher, but this is his first season with a wRC+ over 100 and he can’t hit left-handed pitching. There’s value in having him behind the plate, but not $14 million worth of value. If the Red Sox want him back, they should be able to get him for less, even without the QO driving down his value.

Don’t make the offer.

Jhonny Peralta/Nelson Cruz, Team BioGenesis

Before they got suspended, both would have been interesting discussions. There’s no way either gets $14 million this winter, though, not coming off a PED violation. Easy declines.

Don’t make the offer.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Choo
Member
2 years 8 months ago

Dave: have you ever seen a baserunner run slog blindly into as many outs as Morales has this season? How can his 2013 performance on the bases only be worth -5.0 runs when he posted a mind-blowing -14.0 in 2009?

Westside guy
Member
Member
Westside guy
2 years 8 months ago

Man, I am already depressed about the Mariners off-season… and it’s barely September!

dg1918
Guest
dg1918
2 years 8 months ago

Don’t see how the Sox don’t give Drew the QO. Let X play 3rd and either platoon Middlebrooks at 1st or trade him. $14mm for Drew’s production is a bargain.

Joe
Guest
Joe
2 years 8 months ago

How is it a bargain? This year at $9.5MM sure, but even if we optimistically project him as a 3 win player next year, there’s not a ton of surplus value paying him $14MM, assuming a win goes for roughly $5MM.

NS
Guest
NS
2 years 8 months ago

Even at market-rate salaries, 1-year deals for above-average players are desirable.

Kogoruhn
Member
Kogoruhn
2 years 8 months ago

It’s not exactly market-rate though. 14MM is pretty much the ceiling of the production you will get out of Drew making a 1/14 deal all downside for Boston

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 8 months ago

He’s a 3+ WAR player this year. Thats worth about $16M.

Stephen Drew on a 1 year $13M deal is a valuable commodity. Stephen Drew subsidized to say a 1y $8M deal is a commodity that could bring back a good prospect.

There’s no way they don’t make him the offer, and there’s no way hes on the Red Sox next year. You don’t move a player who has the potential to be a superstar off his position for a 30+ year old above average player on a short deal.

WormFace
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WormFace
2 years 8 months ago

Boston can afford to pay more. Should be a done deal for the reasons that DG said.

LaLoosh
Guest
LaLoosh
2 years 8 months ago

but with Xander and Middlebrooks they already have the left side covered for far less $.

MDL
Member
MDL
2 years 8 months ago

SS and 3B are all set, but who will play 1B? If they let Napoli go the top FA options are Napoli, Morneau, Morse, and other similarly old and declining players.

Bringing Drew back at SS allows you to move Bogaerts to 3B and Middlebrooks to 1B for 2014. Then you can try to sign a better 1B option in 2015 and move Middlebrooks & Bogaerts back to their natural positions, or perhaps by then Garin Cecchini will be ready to come up to take over 3B so Middlebrooks stays at 1B for good and Bogaerts shifts back.

JiminNC
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JiminNC
2 years 8 months ago

The Red Sox a) love extra picks, b) do not mind overpaying on short contracts, c) are not sure about Middlebrooks, d) will be way below the salary figure at which penalties kick in, and e) will have a hard time finding free agents worthy of spending enough to hit that figure. They will probably make some gambles, and will probably make a couple more QOs than would another team that had these players becoming FAs.

Spike
Guest
Spike
2 years 8 months ago

there is no way the Sox are going to have Drew and Salty take up 18% – 20% of their payroll at $28M combined for next season bc if given QOs both are likely to accept since they know that draft pick compensation will dramatically affect what they’d otherwise get on the FA mkt.

Harrisoned
Guest
Harrisoned
2 years 8 months ago

$28MM is not 20% of the Red Sox budget. It’s more like 15%.

leeroy
Guest
leeroy
2 years 8 months ago

Wouldn’t Detroit just offer substantially less money to Omar Infante? Looking at what light-hitting second basemen typically get on the open market a qualifying offer simply would not be in play here… Point is even though having him for $14MM would not be the worst thing for Detroit they can get him for a lot less, maybe even half that. The Prado comp doesn’t work at all in my mind because he was 3 years younger, and had been a much more consistent hitter throughout his career, not to mention Prado was fresh off a 5.6 WAR season with much more impressive old school stats as well, which certainly play into the process.

whonichol
Member
whonichol
2 years 8 months ago

I think from the Red Sox’ perspective, extending the offer to Drew and Saltalamacchia are easy calls – you make the offer.

Other than spending big money/years on McCann, there’s not really a C on the FA market that looks interesting, so Salty at 14 for one year is easy to swallow if he accepts while the Sox wait to see what they have in Lavarnway, Christian Vazquez, and then further down the line in Swihart and Denney. There isn’t a better stopgap on the market than Salty, and the Sox aren’t crushed by 14M.

The reason Drew is easy is slightly different. Basically, SOME team will sign him and give up the pick after the season he’s had. I see essentially no way he ends up on the Sox next year. If for some reason he does accept, he’ll knowingly be competing for the starting SS job with a guy who’s considered the Second Coming in Boston. No way he wants to head into 2015 having been benched. He won’t accept the offer.

Napoli is interesting. Again, there are no good 1Bs on the market and nothing in the system that would work as a replacement. If the Sox want him back, I think they don’t extend and try to get him back on a short term deal unless they go all in on Jose Abreu.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

As a RS fan, I agree. It’s an easy yes.

My guess is that Drew can land a pretty easy $30M/3+, so he’ll decline, and Salty should be good for ~ $40M/4. In the article, there is the complaint about him not hitting lefties. True, though he is still hitting .629 against them this year. But more important, most catchers are platoon players anyway. He automatically starts off at 108+ GS anyway for being a lefty. And it gets better because now your BUC is facing strictly LH pitchers (theoretically). And the idea that they can sign him for less is misleading as well, since that will only happen if he accepts a one-year deal.

And the fits are perfect for us. With Salty and Drew, I absolutely do not care if the accept or decline. L/T, Bogie is playing 3rd, and Marrero SS, most likely. Having Drew for another year is fine by me. For 2014, we simply have no attractive options at catcher. I like both Vazquez and Swihart just fine, but they won’t be here next year.

There is no chance of a QO on Napoli, but I’d bet real money on both Drew and Salty being offered a QO, and declining. Drew will be the #1 SS on the market, and Salty the #2 catcher.

LaLoosh
Guest
LaLoosh
2 years 8 months ago

Salty won’t get anywhere near 4/40. WIth all due respect these are clearly Sox fans’ slanted views. A catcher K’ing 30% of his PAs who has benefitted some from playing in a cozy home stadium and has a CS rate of less than 20% isn’t getting a deal anywhere near what you think. At most he’ll get $20M for 3 yrs.

NS
Guest
NS
2 years 8 months ago

If only there were a way to adjust his numbers based on the park he plays in.

LaLoosh
Guest
LaLoosh
2 years 8 months ago

that’s not much in the way of a counter-argument tho.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 8 months ago

Agreed, Salty won’t sniff 4/40.

SDiaz
Guest
SDiaz
2 years 8 months ago

I agree with you that Dave is pretty off base on both Drew and Salty.

Drew is for all intents and purposes the only starting quality short stop on the market next season. He has demonstrated that the leg injury is behind him, is still relatively young, and is also probably represents an upgrade to almost half of the teams out there. Some team will give him a 3/30 and sacrifice the pick.

Meanwhile, assuming the Red Sox don’t make a push for McCann they will need to attain Salty. They will do what they did with Ortiz and offer him the QO and then try to sign him for a 2 year deal for a lower AAV.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick
2 years 8 months ago

Drew is 1 year removed from posting a negative WAR year and has had only 3 seasons with 100+ wRC+ – all in hitter’s parks. I would make the QO because I think he’ll want to move on – get a long term deal and not have to worry about Bogaerts, but its still not assured.

Saltalamacchia would jump all over that QO if offered, that’s a ~$10M raise for him. The Sox have very little leverage to try to get him to sign a 2 year deal with less AAV once they make him the offer. Yes its a 1 year deal, but that’s more than 50% above his market value.

Napoli is a no-brainer non-offer. The defense has been a pleasant surprise, but can he keep it up? And the hip issue will prevent anyone from offering him more than 2 years. And his market value in AAV is likely closer to the $5M he’s making this year rather than $14M.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles
2 years 8 months ago

Yeah, there is no way that Salty gets $10 million a year on a multiyear deal as a free agent. He would take the QO in a blink of an eye.

dg1918
Guest
dg1918
2 years 8 months ago

wrc+ is park-adjusted, no? So what difference does it make where Drew put up those 100+ seasons?

RC
Guest
RC
2 years 8 months ago

Salty is a 28 year old catcher who just put up a 3+ WAR season. There’s absolutely no way that he’d jump at a 1yr/13M deal. Someone is going to offer him 4/50, or more.

People don’t seem to get that average-to-better players are expensive on the free agent market. Especially young ones.

Eric Feczko
Guest
Eric Feczko
2 years 8 months ago

@RC:

The red sox don’t have a good in-house replacement for Salty. For whatever reason, the brass have not trusted Lavarnway behind the plate. The only other option would be to sign McCann, because that option is open, it is the only leverage the Red Sox have on Salty.
Salty would accept the deal because the red sox would not be able to spend that money on McCann, and thus, lose that leverage. Without said leverage, Salty’s bargaining position improves.

In any case, there’s no need to offer a QO to Salty if you can get a deal done for four years at a slightly lower AAV.

LaLoosh
Guest
LaLoosh
2 years 8 months ago

RC, you’re really off the wall with 4/50 for Salty. Russell Martin signed for 2 yrs and $17M a year ago and Salty isn’t the catcher RM is.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 8 months ago

“Someone is going to offer him 4/50”

Can we wager on that?

Atreyu Jones
Guest
Atreyu Jones
2 years 8 months ago

Where did the myth come from that Mike Napoli is fat and “unathletic”? Is it just because he is a HR/Strikeout hitter?

Sparkles Peterson
Guest
Sparkles Peterson
2 years 8 months ago

Pictures of him demonstrating that he’s a lot fatter than the average baseball player probably.

Atreyu Jones
Guest
Atreyu Jones
2 years 8 months ago

What pictures?

Well-Beered Englishman
Guest
Well-Beered Englishman
2 years 8 months ago

Funnily enough, my mother once narrated a Tigers game this way:

“See, this is what I don’t like about baseball. They’re all fat and lazy. You don’t need to be an athlete to play baseball! Now take soccer. Those guys run around for 90 minutes straight. They have to be in top physical shape. These slobs, they just stand around out there. Even the pitcher is fat. Oh! Who’s THAT guy?”

“That’s Mike Napoli, Mom.”

“See, he’s cute.”

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 8 months ago

A well-beered Englishmum sighting!

Mr. X
Guest
Mr. X
2 years 8 months ago

Martin Prado and Omar Infante are not similar players in my opinion, comparing them by woba is like comparing Juan Pierre and Adam Jones. Also, Infante is 13 months older than Drew but it seems inferred that Drew is young and Infante is old.

Mr. X
Guest
Mr. X
2 years 8 months ago

*15 months

Tak
Member
Tak
2 years 8 months ago

It should also be noted that Detroit is clearly in win-now mode and that a $14M, one year commitment for Infante would be beneficial, not just for the short term, but the long term as well. Detroit doesn’t have any good alternatives at 2B if Infante is allowed to walk (mainly in the form of Hernan Perez or Eugenio Suarez).

abreutime
Guest
abreutime
2 years 8 months ago

I doubt that Infante has become a $14M player on the open market. Prado was younger and more productive; Infante has never had a 3 WAR season.

David
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

prado also demonstrated he could play 4 positions.

robert
Guest
robert
2 years 8 months ago

Nelson Cruz 2013 production was worthy of the $14 million offer. The allogations of Biogenesis were from 2012 and before. The rangers would be crazy not to extend him a 1 year deal for that. The guy won the ALDS for them against the Tigers. He’s served his time.

Mr. X
Guest
Mr. X
2 years 8 months ago

Melky’s 2012 production was worth a QO, look where he stands now. Who knows how Cruz will hit when he comes back. I imagine the Texas front office doesn’t appreciate his dishonesty.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

No one cares if he served his time.

But they do care what his OPS will be if he stops cheating. Melky had #3/#4 OFer written all over him, until he cheated. Then he became valuable, until he couldn’t cheat anymore. Then he became a #3/#4 OFer again.

Big Tex
Guest
Big Tex
2 years 8 months ago

Cruz will most likely get a QO and would likely be DH/5th OF in Arlington next year. Cruz might have a hard time deciding what to do if Texas offers… Take it and pass up on maybe getting a 3/$33 million deal from some other team. Rangers desperately need his RH power bat in their lineup next year.

joecatz
Member
joecatz
2 years 8 months ago

Yeah I’m not sure why dave dismissed the idea of a QO of Cruz so easily. It’s almost a no brainer from texas standpoint, IMO, even if they don’t want him back long term. If he accepts, fantastic. They get 1 year of Nelson Cruz for 14mm. If not, they get the draft pick.

And if they don;t want him, the chances he accepts a one year QO at 33 years old over seeing what the market bears? No brainer.

TheUncool
Guest
TheUncool
2 years 8 months ago

Well, I’d agree if they were the Red Sox or some other big market franchise, but the current Rangers seem more reluctant to spend $ than they did a while ago.

Don’t forget they already have Alex Rios on board. Granted, they could probably still use another quality OF, but Cruz isn’t exactly a lock to be worth the $14M next year though. And he’d almost certainly take the QO, if offered, given his situation.

Hermie13
Guest
Hermie13
2 years 8 months ago

I would hate to be that team that offers Pence $14M per year for multiple years. Seattle probably would though.

d_i
Member
Member
d_i
2 years 8 months ago

Is there something in place that would prevent a team like the Cards w/Beltran from extending the QO which he would likely be forced to accept for the reasons stated just to trade him. Thus the acquiring team wouldn’t have to give up the pick (just a prospect of presumably lesser value. I don’t think the 14 mil salary is the hangup there) and the Cards would get something for letting him walk?

d_i
Member
Member
d_i
2 years 8 months ago

Oops. Nevermind.

stan
Guest
stan
2 years 8 months ago

I think its pretty clear that the Cards will offer Beltran the QO. He’s clearly worth that money, especially on a one year deal, and between his, Holliday’s and Craig’s brittle bodies there are plenty of at bats to be had in the corner outfield slots. The article mentions Matt Adams, but the fact is that even with the two homer night last night he’s not going to be pushing any of those guys out of the line-up. He currently has an OPS below 800 and that’s not earth-shattering for a 1b who can’t play defense well. Oscar Tavares is a larger factor to consider but he’s currently injured and didn’t appeal to anyone with a poor attitude in the minors this year.

Jay
Guest
Jay
2 years 8 months ago

“poor attitude in the minors this year”

Do you have any source for this? I hadn’t heard anything bad about Taveras’ attitude this year. The only problem I heard of was him constantly reaggravating the same injury, and that wasn’t his fault at all. It was the team’s fault for continuing to rush him off the DL when they should have been taking it slow.

B N
Guest
B N
2 years 8 months ago

His injury found him very aggravating.

MSom13
Guest
MSom13
2 years 8 months ago

I’m sure Taveras appeals to plenty of other teams who don’t really care if a 20 year old has a poor attitude anyway.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 8 months ago

The whole “bad attitude” thing is often just a canard older types like to apply (or misapply) to young players of whom they’re jealous of the attention and/or riches being heaped upon.

Not that they would ever call it that (petty jealousy), it’s always couched in terms of “we didn’t do things like that when I came up”, “he’s got to learn to play the game the right way”, “he’s got to put in the time before he can do that”, etc etc.

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 8 months ago

In other words, it’s all the baseball variants of “Get off my lawn!” as they shake their walking canes in the air ruefully.

Ken Smith
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

Offering Beltran seems a no-brainer to me. If he accepts a one-year 14 million dollar offer, you can play him 120 games and let him mentor Oscar
Taveras until he is ready. Taveras can also back up Jay in center and Holliday in left. If Beltran rejects the offer because his agent thinks he can get a multi=year offer from an A.L. team, then the Cards get a compensation pick. Letting Beltran go is gambling that Craig (injured as we speak), Taveras (spent most of the year on DL) and Adams will all be healthy next year. The Cardinals would be wrong to offer Beltran a multi-year deal but given Taveras’ lost season,one year would make sense in my opinion.

JP
Guest
JP
2 years 8 months ago

And what’s the opportunity cost for the $14 million. The Cards have $85 million spent for players with contracts and arbitration raises and a projected payroll of $120 million plus (assuming a modest increase from 2013’s $116 million payroll).

They have one need: shortstop. There are two decent ones available, Drew and Peralta. Neither will make more than $10 million in 2014. You could argue they should trade for a high priced shortstop like Andrus or Tulo. They could also sign a free agent pitcher to go with Wainwright, Lynn, Miller, Garcia, Wacha, Martinez, Rosenthal, Lyons, Kelly, etc, but both the pitcher and the high-priced SS seem unlikely. Better to just sign Beltran to the QO. They would still have $20 million left over.

chief00
Guest
chief00
2 years 8 months ago

Can they not re-allocate that $14MM for a different OF from the ones mentioned? That is, if they’re dying to spend $14MM on an OF, I’m reasonably sure they can find one. Heck, they could trade for Jose Bautista and shave 5 years off…

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

Pretty similar to my Drew/Salty analysis. Probably not quite worth $14M, but imho, small overpayments for one year deals, usually work out pretty well.

The absolute downside is that Tavares is completely ready for RF, you keep in the minors until his clock has reset, and you trade Beltran for salary relief at the trading deadline.

Drew and Salty are both worth about 3.0 WAR, making their value ~ $13.5-15.0M. They become slightly more valuable because we don’t have good options, and become slightly more valuable because the commitment is only one year. I see no downside.

RC
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RC
2 years 8 months ago

“very friendly UZR rating at first base, which seems odd for an unathletic former catcher with hip problems.”

Napoli has been very good this year at 1B. Surprisingly good.

Also, he doesn’t have hip problems. He has a condition that will cause hip problems in the future.

Sparkles Peterson
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Sparkles Peterson
2 years 8 months ago

He has avascular necrosis. He absolutely has current hip problems, that will get worse in the future.

JiminNC
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JiminNC
2 years 8 months ago

He has latent hip problems, which do not affect his athleticism right now at all.

Spit Ball
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Spit Ball
2 years 8 months ago

I’m not sure if their is a right answer on Drew. I do think given their track records it’s hard to say Infante should get one and Drew should not. I do realize they are in different situations given the Boegarts/Middlebrooks thing in Boston. I’m split on it as a Sox fan. I’m kind of leaning to giving Drew the qualifying option and sort out the rest of it later. I do realize once you move a shortstop to a corner that’s all she wrote. The shortstop days are basically over. Also lots of the allure of Boegarts is that he can hit like a first baseman while playing shortstop. Still Drew is a valuable player and it would be hard to just let him go. I think Dave is right as the Red Sox are likely thinking of kids on the left side of infield. I just wonder what the backup plan is for Middy and Boegarts should one or both falter. Tough call I think.

TheUncool
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TheUncool
2 years 8 months ago

IF I were them, I’d start out w/ Bogaerts as primary SS and work things out at 3B/1B between Drew and Middlebrooks and whomever else until Bogaerts proves he needs more time in AAA — Drew can still get some time at SS depending on Bogaerts’ actual play. IF Drew doesn’t like that idea, he’ll probably decline the QO, which works fine for the Sox anyway.

I don’t think $14M for 2014 should be a problem for the Sox given their context. That’s probably better than not having Drew at all once he hits the open market w/out the QO/pick compensation.

Given their situation, I gotta think they can’t depend too much on *both* Bogaerts *and* Middlebrooks to pan out all season long in 2014 on top of having 1B figured out.

OTOH, if they plan on offering QO to Napoli, then probably not to Drew…

Baltar
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Baltar
2 years 8 months ago

$14M for Hunter Pence? Surely you meant Hunter Pence’s girlfriend.

Aj
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Aj
2 years 8 months ago

RC, Drew was worth negative WAR last year. The Sox have a STUD SS to play in the spot even if Bog doesn’t blow up he will be worth ATLEAST as much as Drew and cost basically nothing. Salty is an average catcher, Martin only got 7mil a season last year and hes a far better player. Worst case someone outbids there 7-8mil offer and they go with a platoon with Ross/Larnaway which would probably outperform Salty anyways, Ross is a monster platoon bat and Larnaway has hit well when given chances. Sox can take that 28 million and buy a legit player rather then two bit players that aren’t any better then the in house replacements.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

1-Ross is not quite a monster platoon bat with a .198, and is a huge concussion risk. I like his catching abilities, but he less than dependable. Lavarnway can probably hit, but it is not a certainty, and I really doubt his ability to catch. I think Vazquez and Swihart are our future, but I am not sure Vazquez is ready for the pros in 2014.

2-Everyone loves Bogaerts, but his 87 errors in the minors, in 345 games at SS, is very worrisome. And, in any case, Marrero is the SS of the future. If Drew declines the QO, I’d feel comfortable with Bogie at SS for one year, but he is more than likely going to be a 3B.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

I should’ve commented on Martin. He’s the guy I wanted the RS to sign instead of Salty, and I haven’t changed my mind. He’s better than Salty, imo.

But that doesn’t hurt Salty’s case whatsoever. His contract is actually for $8.5M, and he has put PT in 1st, and his absence in NY is probably their biggest loss this year. This should encourage the fringe teams to bid up on a catcher. Martin was a steal for PT.

TheUncool
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TheUncool
2 years 8 months ago

I like Bogaerts too, but until he shows he’s actually ready to produce as MLB SS, I don’t think a team like the Red Sox should just bank on that and move on. That plus Middlebrooks also needs to prove his bat is ready to stick — and they also need to figure out 1B, if they’re letting Napoli walk.

There are just enough question marks there for Drew to make sense for the Sox on a 1-year deal. Without QO, the Sox would have to outbid other teams on the open market and probably need to go multi-year, which is something they should avoid.

Donnie B
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Donnie B
2 years 8 months ago

I believe the Red Sox will go after Brian McCann and Salty would be signed by the Phillies, while Ruiz signs with the Rays. Drew signs with the Cardinals and the Mets or Pirates signing Peralta. Granderson signs with the Mariners. Beltran accepts a QO from the Cardinals. Phillies also sign Nelson Cruz and Pence accepts the QO as well, or is extended. I think Red Sox resigns Napoli as well. Those are my guesses right now.

LaLoosh
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LaLoosh
2 years 8 months ago

would assume the Mets would prefer Drew but I agree that they’ll prob have the Cards to contend with.

I also see a possible war over McCann between the Sox and Yanks.

Will be interesting to see where Pence goes. I read something recently which said that the Giants intend to re-sign him. If the Mets end up with a protected pick he’d be high in their list.

Horace
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Horace
2 years 8 months ago

Donnie B. – On the McCann vs. Salty prediction – I would think that Salty’s familiarity with the Red Sox pitching staff, successful performance playing in the Boston market, age and continued improvement both in game calling and offensive approach, would influence the Sox to re-sign him rather than spend money on McCann. No? You could also probably add both Chicago teams as well as the Yankees to possible destinations for either catcher.

PG
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PG
2 years 8 months ago

Dave,

Red Sox fan here, so I’m admittedly partial. You make some good points on Drew and Napoli. I think they are both debatable.

But, in my humble & insignificant opinion, I don’t think there is any question that the Sox should/will extend a QO to Salty. The only scenario I can envision, in which this would not happen is if the Sox were able to resign him for a lesser deal (e.g., 1 yr, $12 mil; or 2 yrs. $20 mil) prior to the QO deadline. Do you really think Salty would accept a deal like that as a 28-year-old catcher coming off the best season of his career (2.5 WAR so far) and 3 consecutive seasons of improvement (2011: 1.5 WAR; 2012: 1.9 WAR)? I doubt it. In fact, I seriously doubt he would accept a QO if the Sox gave him one since this is probably his best chance to cash a multi-year deal — an opportunity that he may never have again.

Even if Salty were to accept the QO, I think the Sox would be fine with that considering: 1) the lack of internal/external starting catcher alternatives for 2013 whose value would be greater-than-or-equal-to that of Salty; and 2) the other contracts they will likely be shedding this off-season (Ellsbury, Napoli, Drew, etc.). And if he doesn’t accept the QO then the Sox will have, at the very least, decreased his market value (i.e., the cost of re-signing him) by attaching draft pick compensation to him.

Anyways, that’s my take. Any thoughts in response?

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

My thought is that you are spot on. As I’ve said elsewhere, I couldn’t care less if we overpay both Drew and Salty by $2M on one-year deals. I’d take both back at $14M each right now.

PG
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PG
2 years 8 months ago

[should read: “alternatives for 2014”]

Grammar Police
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Grammar Police
2 years 8 months ago

How does the draft pick comp work? Isn’t it if a team has a top 10 pick they don’t lose the pick? Wouldn’t this affect teams decisions for who to QO?

Helper
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Helper
2 years 8 months ago

Here’s an article that explains the process in depth: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-qualifying-offer-and-you/

In answer to your question – yes, if a team has a top 10 pick and signs a Free Agent that rejected a Qualifying Offer from another another, they keep that top 10 pick and lose their next pick that is not in the top 10 (2nd round, “competitive balance”, whatever).

So yes, this does affect he decisions for some of these teams. If you’re picking 10th, and don’t have a competitive balance pick and won’t get a FA compensation pick for one of your players leaving, like the Mets might for instance, the cost of picking up a FA that rejected a QO is your 2nd round, 10th pick. That’s not such a tough pill to swallow!

Patrick
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2 years 8 months ago

Which is why Swisher and Bourn wound up in Cleveland. They gave up a 2nd and 3rd round pick, while other teams would have had to give up a first rounder.

LaLoosh
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LaLoosh
2 years 8 months ago

I get the argument DC makes on Grandy but I think that you have to look at who the Yankees have coming back in the OF – Gardner, Ichiro & now Soriano plus Wells and figure that the Yankees may want to save that $14M for Cano and assume that they’ll also be in the market for a SP and may also have serious interest in McCann. There could end up being a serious war for McCann between the Sox and Yankees.

What I want to know is, how can these teams not know the outcome of their QOs? Is there any way a team would make a QO and not know beforehand whether or not it will be accepted? Aren’t the sides talking to each other? iow, the Yankees wouldn’t make the QO unless they wanted CG back for 1 yr, no?

LaLoosh
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LaLoosh
2 years 8 months ago

has there ever been a player who missed almost an entire season and came back and scored an 8 figure per multi year contract the next winter? Who is giving Grandy more than a 2 yr/$20M?

Joebrady
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2 years 8 months ago

Compare him to other recent signings. Hunter got $26M/2. Ross got $26M/3. I’d bet on Grandy having a higher WAR over the next two years than either of those two.

LaLoosh
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LaLoosh
2 years 8 months ago

those two both came off of good seasons. Grandy has been out almost all year.

along the same lines, would you forecast the same multi-year deal for Corey Hart?

Joebrady
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2 years 8 months ago

They both came off of years where their stats were outliers. Hunter had a 3.5/1 K/W. His BABIP was .389. His 2.0 is probably exactly what you’d expect.

Ross hadn’t been good since probably 2008. He posted WARs between .7-2.3 since then.

Granderson’s lowest WAR from 2006-2012 is as good as Ross’ best WAR in the past 4 years. He ranges from 2.3-7.7.

Listen, I’m a RS fanatic and avowed EE hater. But it is impossible to think that Ross is a better player than Granderson.

LaLoosh
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LaLoosh
2 years 8 months ago

no one is saying Cody Ross is better than Granderson. Ross was 31 when he signed that deal and it’s for $8M+ per year, not $14M.

Joebrady
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2 years 8 months ago

I think a lot of this thread responses depend on a one-year contract v a long-term contract. I wouldn’t advocate signing Grandy for $14M for 4 years, nor would I do the same for Drew or Salty.

But for one year, I think both the NYY and RS can afford both. It’s low risk and good fit.

Past that, while $14M is a good one-year payday, I would be counting on all three players deciding to cash in elsewhere. None will get $14M per, but Salty should be at least $27M/3, Drew at least $34M/3, and Grandy maybe $36M/3.

That’s all that will matter in the end. The downside for all three is overpaying by $2M. The upside is getting a good draft pick.

LaLoosh
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LaLoosh
2 years 8 months ago

re-read the Cameron piece. the issue is that for many FAs the market will collapse once a team has to give up a 1st round pick to sign them. It seems like you aren’t accounting for that. No one is going to sign Salty for anywhere near what you’re claiming *plus* give up a 1st rd draft pick. Ditto Drew and Grandy.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

” No one is going to sign Salty for anywhere near what you’re claiming *plus* give up a 1st rd draft pick. Ditto Drew and Grandy.”

Soriano signed for $28M/2, and Lohse for $33M/3. You have to consider the world of draft picks. All you need is someone with a protected pick, or someone with a low #1, and with a low WAR SS. So I would consider the:

NYM-No SS, cash to spend, protected pick
StL-Weak SS, no competing needs, a bottom-5 pick.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

I’d say it helps to know, but not necessary to be 100% sure. On the margin, it depends on what your replacement looks like. The RS could use Bogaerts to replace Drew, even if I don’t care for the decision. But for a guy like Salty, they have no replacement, so offering a QO is a no-brainer.

LaLoosh
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LaLoosh
2 years 8 months ago

the Sox can just go with Ross and Lavarnway for goodness sakes. There is no way the Sox are dropping $14M for Salty when that’s a good twice what the market will pay him.

Sox may go hard after McCann. There is also Ruiz and Dionner Navarro available.

Joebrady
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2 years 8 months ago

Ross can’t hit and Lav can’t field. With Vazquez and Swihart coming up in 2015, they won’t lock in McCann for four years.

LaLoosh
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LaLoosh
2 years 8 months ago

Swihart in 2015! I wouldn’t count on that one. Frankly, not going after McCann would be very good news to the Yankees.

Joebrady
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2 years 8 months ago

Yup on Swihart. I mostly meant Vazquez in 2015 and Swihart in 2016, but was too lazy to write the whole thing out.

The NYY are unlikely to go after McCann if they are serious about the $189M. They already blew it by going after Youkilis instead of re-signing Chavez for 1/3 the money, then compounding that mistake by not keeping Martin. McCann is good, but he has a lot of games under his belt. More than three years would be pushing it.

LaLoosh
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LaLoosh
2 years 8 months ago

Yankees have a lot of money coming off plus ARoid most likely. They’ll have room to re-sign Cano, add a SP and prob McCann and stay under 189M.

MrKnowNothing
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MrKnowNothing
2 years 8 months ago

If my team was able to sign Beltran for one year at $13mm, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Even with ridiculously bad UZR, he’s been worth 2 WAR so far this year. And he’s missed some time. With FA WAR trending towards $6mm a win, a QO would be around his likely value. Is thee surplus value? Possibly, because he’s still an excellent hitter who could have another good year or two in him.

But there’s also the flexibility that having him for one year provides. For a team like the Cards, who are clearly in a “we can win right now” position, he’s worth the risk. There’s a lack of appreciation for knowing you won’t be bogged down by the contract, no matter what. Yes, $14mm is nothing to sneeze at, but given the potential value he’d provide, from his actual performance to the depth and security of not having to rely on a rookie in the OF (bc, when you’re contending, do you want to maybe miss the playoffs by a game or two bc Tavares goes through some adjustments?).

If a normal free agent win is worth $5-6mm. But if a win for a team that’s right in the playoff hunt is worth more (say, $7mm) then the QO to Beltran would have him as a two WAR player next year. That’s a very reasonable expectation for him. Even moreso as there’s no risk beyond a year.

Joe
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Joe
2 years 8 months ago

I’m not big on Napoli either, but you have to have a replacement. Whether that’s a Nava based platoon at 1B or another average-ish 1B, I don’t know. But Napoli seems to have more upsisde than other free agent 1B. Morales on a one-year deal could work. Or an MiLB option, possibly.

Spit Ball
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Spit Ball
2 years 8 months ago

Napoli over Morales.

JiminNC
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JiminNC
2 years 8 months ago

How do they prevent non-blatant sign and trades? You can’t do the simultaneous basketball thing, but if a player accepts a QO, is there a rule that says he can’t be traded for a year? Can’t they trade him in Sprig Training? June?

hey dud!
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hey dud!
2 years 8 months ago

I don’t think Pirates would offer AJ.
He must accept 14m which Pirates cannot afford to give him
IF he reject QO, 36year old SP will be lost in market

Timothy Frith
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Timothy Frith
2 years 8 months ago

The Mets will sign Jacoby Ellsbury and Delmon Young this offseason, so they will be World Series bound in 2014.

Joebrady
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2 years 6 months ago

“No, Drew is pretty clearly not as valuable as Infante or Prado.

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=bat&lg=all&qual=300&type=8&season=2013&month=0&season1=2011&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=1609,3312,4251

This idea that a team is going to pay significant dollars and give up a draft pick to sign Stephen Drew is just… weird. Go look at what happened to Adam LaRoche last winter.”

Step 1 is done. Let’s find out what the interest is in Drew.

Joebrady
Guest
2 years 6 months ago

And now we are done. Just wish the RS had offered Salty a QO. Pretty sure he’d have turned them down.

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