While we bide our time for the opening of Spring Training, I thought I’d wrap up some off-season posts in draft mode…
Every year since its inception i’ve done a “Qualifying Offer” wrap-up post (henceforth referred to as QO), as a way to provide some analysis of this salary-limiting vehicle that was such a major point of negotiations in the latest CBA. It has been markedly changed for the coming years, changed in a way that favors the players and penalizes the smaller market teams “less” than the larger market teams.
This off-season just 10 players took the Qualifying Offer, as compared to 20 the year before. Here’s a summary table of those players:
|Year||Player||Old Team||Previous Contract AAV||New Team||New contract AAV|
|2016||Yoenis Cespedes||New York Mets||27.5M||New York Mets||$27.5M|
|2016||Dexter Fowler||Chicago Cubs||13M||St. Louis||$16.4M|
|2016||Justin Turner||Los Angeles Dodgers||5.1M||Los Angeles Dodgers||$16M|
|2016||Neil Walker||New York Mets||10.55M||New York Mets||$17.2M|
|2016||Kenley Jansen||Los Angeles Dodgers||10.65||Los Angeles Dodgers||$16M|
Here’s a link to my full QO worksheet, with more fields, more contract details and a history of all QO players dating to 2012.
High-level Summary of the QOs:
- 5 of the 10 players ended up re-signing with their old team.
- 2 of the 10 players took the QO that was offered and will play on a one-year, $17.2M deal in 2017.
- Just 3 of the 10 signed with other teams and cost those teams a draft pick.
Compare those results to 2015’s crop of 20 QO offered players:
- 6 of the 20 re-signed
- 3 of the 20 took the QO; the first three to do so in the history of the system
- 11 of the 20 cost teams draft picks.
Here’s some other observations of this past year’s crop of players:
- 5 of the 10 ended up taking a lesser AAV on their next contract than the $17.2M one-year deal on the table when they were offered the QO.
- However, only 2 of the 10 I’d say were “screwed” by the QO: Jose Bautista and Mark Trumbo. Bautista kind of mis-read the FA landscape and declined multi year deals before scurrying back to Toronto on a one-year $18M deal that probably was a “saving face” contract from Toronto to one of its best stars. Trumbo was the last man standing and took nearly $5M less in AAV to sign a 3 year extension; the modern game just does not rate aging sluggers with 30% whiff rates who are defensively limited.
- Ian Desmond, as has been frequently reported, took the most inexplicable contract of the past few years, but despite taking more than $3M/year less in AAV than the QO you cannot say that his new contract is anything but a win for him and his family. $70M guaranteed drastically shortchanges what he allegedly turned down from the Nats (and, boy did the Nats dodge a bullet by not committing to Desmond for 7 years).
- I kinda couldn’t believe that Philly extended the QO to Jeremy Hellickson. Maybe they’ll flip him at the deadline for prospects.
- The teams who offered QOs to players this year reads like a list of the major market teams: Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Texas, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Among those teams only Baltimore is not immediately considered a major market team … but they should be (they were the #1 payroll team in the majors in the 1990s; the were the Yankees before the Yankees became the Yankees).
- The 3 teams who forfeited 1st round picks: Colorado, Cleveland and St. Louis. All three smaller market teams.
- The 3 teams who gained add’l picks: Chicago Cubs, Toronto and Texas. All three major market teams.
The last two statements together perfectly encapsulate why this system no longer worked. I’m glad to see its impact lessened, and I’m sure the players are too. They gave up way too much in the CBA negotiations to secure it, but that’s a problem for the next CBA.