Honestly, this one does surprise me … a little bit. Not one of the 12 players who were extended a one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer accepted.
Still never in the past three years of the existence of qualifying offers in Major League Baseball has a single qualifying offer ever been accepted by a player. The players all instead opting for free agency in hopes of getting more money and more years on a contract.
That didn’t work out too well last year with many of the players, including Ervin Santana and Nelson Cruz, who rejected offers last season. Most of them ened up not getting signed until mid-to-late March for similar deals that they would have gotten had they accepted the qualifying offer in the first place.
Or ask a player like Kendrys Morales or Stephen Drew who didn’t get to play until AFTER the June First-Year Player Draft when they no longer had a a draft pick hanging on them like an expensive sales tag.
By waiting until June – or even mid-to-late March what did these players get that a qualifying offer wouldn’t have given them? Absoutely nothing. They got one-year deals that paid either the same amount or less (as in the case of Morales and Drew who ended up on pro-rated salaries) than the original qualifying offer.
This year, along with the average league salary, qualifying offers were raised from $14.1 million to $15.3 million. You’d have thought, as I did, that maybe at least one player would have made the point of instituting this whole process worthwhile.
Well, turns out that did not happen and for the third offseason in a row, qualifying offers seems pretty pointless. That is if you ask me. If no one is ever going to accept then why bother in the first place.
Yes, players MIGHT be able to make more money as a free agent but now each of the 12 players who rejected their offers have that exspensive tag hanging on them in the form of a top draft pick of the team that signs them. They are now all attached to their former team’s highest draft pick.
Basically, what we have learned is this: that teams don’t like to give up draft picks unless your name is Robinson Cano (or Shin Soo-Choo but that doesn’t really count because he was injured most of the season, alongisde all of the Texas Rangers’ 2014 roster).
If your name is not Robinson Cano then teams will only wait until absolute desperation sets in to sign a player connected to a draft pick. A good example would be the Braves signing Ervin Santana because two of their starters, Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy, both went down around the start of Spring Training, both needing Tommy John surgery.
Yes, if a team gets desperate enough and management decides they need a winning season they’ll forfeit a draft pick in hopes of one. They will also only sign the player to a one-year deal worth no more than the qualifying offer that they were originally, already primed, to get if they had said, “yes” to their former team.
Apparently the players are still out for more years and more money. So far so good for Michael Cuddyer who most expected to take the qualifying offer extended to him by the Colorado Rockies.
However, the New York Mets surprised everyone signing Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million deal according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. Yet to say this came as a shock to many, may still be understating the deal.
Cuddyer gor $21M for 2 years from #mets
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 10, 2014
No one thought that Cuddyer, 35, would get a multi-year deal. Although he was an All-Star in and won the N.L. batting title with a .331 average in 2013, Cuddyer had an injury-plagued 2014 season.
Injuries and age often go hand in hand. He appeared in just 49 games for the Rockies and the 35-year-old isn’t getting any younger. He will be 36 by Opening Day 2015.
Still when Cuddyer did play in 2014 he still hit well with a .332 average and 10 homers in those 49 games. I keep having to remind myself that this IS baseball and anything can happen whether a person is old, young, injured or not which is why I can see where the Mets stepped up and took a chance on the multi-faceted Cuddyer who can not only hit but plays three positions.
Regardless of all of this I am still very surprised. It was my belief that AT LEAST ONE player would accept. I predicted back in October that that one player would be the Yankees’ reliever David Robertson, for a number of reasons.
I predicted that New York Yankees reliever and basically the heir to the closer role after Mariano Rivera (until Dellin Betances arrived on the scene) Robertson had a chance to be the first player in history to accept a qualifying offer. As with a lot of things in life, I was wrong.
Robertson rejected the qualifying offer set forth by the Yankees yet still intends to work with the club to secure a mutli-year deal. That is likely to happen but the qualifying offer would have made Robertson MLB’s highest paid reliever and guaranteed him a job for next season. I assumed he would take the offer.
I thought I knew quite a bit about qualifying offers. I also thought that at least one of the twelve who were extended offers this year would bite.
But as I have said before (in this very post) and will probably say many times again throughout my life, this IS baseball and it’s pretty much impossible to predicted the outcome because anything can and will often happen.