This Year’s Qualifying Offers Have No Effect
With the signing of Melky Cabrera by the White Sox for three years and $42 million, it’s clear that all twelve players to reject the qualifying offer this off-season made the right decision. I had my doubts about Melky, Francisco Liriano and Michael Cuddyer, but all got something better than the qualifying offer, with both Cabrera and Liriano blowing the qualifying offer out of the water.
Obviously, the owners are feeling a lot more flush this off-season than they did a year ago. At the very least, I strongly suspect that Nelson Cruz, Stephen Drew, and Kendrys Morales would have beaten the qualifying offer if they came into this off-season with last year’s numbers. In fact, Morales technically beat this year’s qualifying offer, at two-years and $17 million from the Royals, despite a dreadful season following the hold-out ’til June.
With teams virtually certain to impose a draft on international players after the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expires in December 1, 2016, there will be even more money available for free agents. Some teams, like the Cubs, Red Sox, Yankees, Rangers and Rays have been spending as much as it takes to sign the best foreign amateurs now, even though it means they can’t give more than $250,000 to any international amateur the next year.
I think this means that if MLB keeps the current qualifying offer system in effect, the next contract will see the qualifying offer amount escalate at a higher rate than the current CBA. I guess it really turns on whether all qualifying offer recipients beat the qualifying offer next off-season, since it also seems virtually certain that every player who gets a qualifying offer next off-season will reject it after this off-season’s results.