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.

Explore posts in the same categories: Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Pittsburg Pirates, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays

2 Comments on “This Year’s Qualifying Offers Have No Effect”

  1. kabeiser Says:

    I don’t think the potential international draft will have any effect on FA’s. It’s money but it’s not that much money compared to 150+M payrolls.

    What I see this year in FA:

    Teams have tons of money to spend due to new TV deals and other exploding revenue streams. There is more money to spend than available FA’s. This helped the borderline FA’s that had QO’s.

    Another effect is the new WC format which lowers the bar to make the playoffs. We already saw this effect at the trade deadline when there were very few sellers. Combine that with the cinderella Royals more teams will feel like maybe it could be them.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole FA compensation system is thrown out in the next CBA. The owners give this up and the MLBPA gives up int’l FA (goes to a draft) and harder slotting in the domestic draft.

    • Burly Says:

      You’re definitely right about the new TV deals, and the likely effect of another wild card team, because more teams now think they are one or two free agents away from making the post-season. However, I very much doubt the owners will give up any form of free agent compensation/free agent value reduction system in the next contract.

      Even this year, with every single player doing distinctly better than the Q.O., the lost of a draft pick does bring down free agent competition and thus brings down prices somewhat. I was pretty shocked, for example, that the Mets gave up the 15th pick in next year’s draft to sign Michael Cuddyer. In the last two or three previous off-seasons since the new system came into effect, it appeared that teams were valuing the 11-19 1st round picks very highly and were unwilling to give these picks up for anyone other than the most elite free agents.

      Free agent signings really drive salary escalation in MLB, because bigger free agent contracts quickly affect all salary arbitration eligible players. Owners are going to want something that holds down free agent contracts even if the effect is relatively small.


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