As we get deeper into the off-season, the focus shifts from baseball games to the moves teams are making to prepare for the upcoming season – is it upcoming if it’s not even 2018 yet? Yes, because I need to pretend opening day isn’t over one-hundred days away. The MLB’s free-agent signing period has officially begun, meaning deals, steals, and trades. I can’t wait to see what moves the Red Sox make; I pray they re-sign Mitch Moreland.
Anyway, 5 PM yesterday was the cutoff for Qualifying Offers, a part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement that allows teams to make single-season offers to their impending free agents before free agency. The offer is worth the average salary of the MLB’s 125 highest-paid players. They can do this on two conditions: the first, that said player has never received a qualifying offer before in his career, not just with the current club. The second condition is that the player has spent the entire season on that team’s roster, meaning mid-season additions to a team are not eligible to receive qualifying offers. The player has 10 days to accept or decline the qualifying offer, but he can also negotiate with other teams to survey his market value during the 10-day period. If he declines, the player will become a free agent.
The magic number this year is a cool $17.4 million dollars. Here are the teams trying to keep their studs from going the free agent route:
Royals: OF Lorenzo Cain, 1B Eric Hosmer, and 3B Mike Moustakas all helped bring the Royals a World Series trophy in 2015, so it makes sense that Kansas City wants to keep them around, hopefully for a Round 2 in 2018. Both Hosmer and Moustakas have been with KC for their entire 7-year MLB careers.
Season by the numbers:
Cain: .300 with 15 HR, 49 RBIs
Hosmer: .318 with 25 HR, 94 RBIs
Moustakas: .272 with 38 HR (a new franchise single-season record) and a career-high 85 RBIs
Indians: 1B/C Carlos Santana has been with the team since 2008, and even though he’s in his 30s now, it looks like Cleveland doesn’t want to lose him as they head into their third straight season of trying to break the now-longest World Series drought (they haven’t won a championship since 1948) in the MLB. He’s also an AL Gold Glove finalist, FYI.
Season by the numbers: .259 with 23 HR, 79 RBIs
Cardinals: RHP Lance Lynn was the poster boy for Tommy John recovery this season, with a team-high 33 starts. He’s probably going to turn down this offer, since he’s seeking a multi-year contract, and the Cards have not talked extension with him thus far.
Season by the numbers: 3.43 ERA, 11-8 record
Rays: RHP Alex Cobb has been with Tampa Bay for these first six seasons of his MLB career. This was Cobb’s second season back after also undergoing Tommy John surgery, and he made 29 starts and went 12-10.
Season by the numbers: .366 ERA with 128 Ks in 179 1/3 innings
Rockies: RHP Greg Holland has only been with Colorado for a year, but what a year it was. He led the National League with 58 games finished, and ended the season tied with Dodgers ace Kenley Jansen for most saves in the NL, 41. He’s expected to turn down the offer, and should be approached by many other teams.
Season by the numbers: 3.61 ERA with the aforementioned 41 saves
Cubs: Chicago would love to keep RHPs Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis. Arrieta posted a 14-10 record in his fourth season with the Cubs, but this is the first year that his W-L% is below the high .600s since joining the club, a much-lower .583 for this season. He also spent part of the season on the DL with a hamstring injury. In his first season with the Cubs, Wade had 32 saves and a .667 W-L% for the second straight year.
Season by the numbers:
Arrieta: 3.53 ERA
Davis: 2.30 ERA
No Qualifying Offer:
- CC Sabathia, New York Yankees
- Logan Morrison, Tampa Bay Rays
- Andrew Cashner, Texas Rangers
- Zack Cozart, Cincinnati Reds
These guys have ten days to accept or decline their team’s offers, so stay tuned for an update! Who do you think will go the free agent route?