Nationals Arm Race

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Qualifying Offers out … this isn’t how the system is supposed to work


Soon to be named MVP Judge headlines the 14 QO recipients . Photo via SI Kids online

The GM Meetings are underway, now that the little matter of the 2022 World Series is settled (sorry Bryce, still no title for you). And thus the 2022-2023 off-season is underway. We’ll have our regular content (things like Rule-5 protection analysis/predictions, non-tender deadline predictions, and of course prospects), but first up is the Qualifying Offer!

The player’s union really wants to get rid of it; the owner’s don’t really care since it operates as yet another safeguard on their payrolls. This past summer the owners offered to get rid of the QO in return for an international draft … which in my mind would likely kill foreign baseball in a number of countries. The union thankfully said no thanks, so here we are.

Here’s the 14 players who got a QO:

2022Aaron JudgeRFPSI Sports ManagementNew York Yankees1yr/$19M1919
2022Jacob deGromSPVC SportsNew York Mets5yr/$137.5M27.533.5
2022Xander BogaertsSSScott Boras/Boras CorporationBoston Red Sox6yr/$120M2020
2022Dansby SwansonSSExcel Sports ManagementAtlanta Braves1yr/$10M1010
2022Trea TurnerSSCAALos Angeles Dodgers1yr/$21M2121
2022Willson ContrerasC?? UnknownChicago Cubs1yr/$9.6259.6259.625
2022Carlos RodonSPScott Boras/Boras CorporationSan Francisco Giants2yr/$44M2222.5
2022Chris BassittSPPro Star ManagementNew York Mets1yr/$8.8M8.88.8
2022Brandon NimmoOFCAANew York Mets1yr/$7M77
2022Nathan EovaldiSPACESBoston Red Sox4yr/$681717
2022Anthony Rizzo1BSports OneNew York Yankees2yr/$32M1616
2022Joc PedersonOFExcel Sports ManagementSan Francisco Giants1yr/$6M66
2022Martin PerezSPOctagonTexas Rangers1yr/$4M44
2022Tyler AndersonSPGSELos Angeles Dodgers1yr/$8M88

Notice something about this list? They’re all Big market teams! Breakdown by team:

  • Yankees: 2
  • Mets: 3
  • Red Sox: 2
  • Dodgers: 2
  • Giants: 2
  • Cubs: 1
  • Rangers: 1
  • Braves: 1

I mean … there’s not one “mid-sized” or smaller market team here. its basically a list comprised of players from the largest markets in the land. By CMSA:

  • New York: 1
  • Los Angeles: 2
  • Chicago: 4
  • San Francisco: 5
  • Boston: 6
  • Dallas: 7
  • Atlanta 10.

That missing #3 spot? Yeah that’d be us. Washington-Baltimore CMSA is now the 3rd largest in the area, having recently overtaken Chicago.

the larger point is this: these are the sport’s biggest and wealthiest teams basically set to gain a bunch of extra picks because they happen to have a bunch of highly paid players on their rosters.

Now that being said … there are some obvious QO candidates and some guys who just got tagged in one who… are kind of a surprise. Lets categorize:

Players who will reject the QO and will get FAR more in AAV:

  • Judge, DeGrom, Turner, Bogarts,
  • These are all going to be major FAs this off-season, getting 30M or more a year.

Players who will reject the QO and who will get a bit more in AAV but longer term deals:

  • Swanson, Rodon: probably getting 5-6 years at $22-$25M per.
  • Contreras is the #1 catcher available and likely gets a 4-5 year deal at a tick above the QO.

Players who may struggle to get an AAV contract matching the $19.65M QO

  • Nimmo: interestingly he’s always had solid production but is “only” on a 1yr/$7M deal at the end of his arb years. Odd. He stepped up his power this year though and MLB trade rumors is projecting a 5yr $110M deal. We’ll see. Seems farfetched.
  • Eovaldi: he was decent this year, but not earth shattering while making $17M AAV. I could see him getting like a 3-4 year deal at $20M AAV.
  • Rizzo: 34yrs old, had a great 2022 in a lefty-hitter’s paradise in NY, but is 1B only. I can’t imagine him doing much better than his $16M AAV contract, and needs to be careful where he goes.
  • Bassitt is a serviceable mid-rotation starter with solid stuff. He’s the kind of guy you get in the 15th round of your fantasy draft and you look like a genius. He only made $8.8M this year, but seems set to get a decently sized contract right above the QO.

Players who may want to take that QO

  • Pederson: he blew it up in 2022, putting in a 144 OPS+ season after not really being effective at all the last few seasons. Is this enough for a team to sign him to a multi-year deal at $20M per? Doubt it: he clearly likes SF and he should take that QO to see if he can replicate 2022, then go back out on the market unencumbered in 2023.
  • Perez: he went from years of ERAs in the 4s and 5s to a 2.73 ERA season in 2022. He played for just $4M this year; he’s almost a lock to accept the QO since no other team is going to give up a pick for a guy who might regress to the mean.
  • Anderson: Like Perez, he went from a 4.81 ERA to a 2.57 ERA with the Dodgers, and after making just $8M this year seems a lock to take the QO and give it another go with Los Angeles.

Written by Todd Boss

November 11th, 2022 at 1:43 pm

8 Responses to 'Qualifying Offers out … this isn’t how the system is supposed to work'

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  1. Interesting that only 2 of the players are Scott Boras pawns.

    Mark L

    12 Nov 22 at 7:13 am

  2. It would be a significant hit to the Mets’ already exploding budget (deferring Diaz $$$ for 20 years!) to go from $16M for Bassitt and Nimmo to almost $40M. I hope then end up taking the hit. They’re trying to game the system by attaching QOs to marginal guys, hoping to get the extra draft picks.

    I wrote on a previous post wondering what the market for Judge actually is, for a 31-year-old who will probably be exclusively DH within three or four years. He’s also only managed to stay healthy for the duration of two of his seven MLB seasons. So signing him would be a considerable risk.

    I can’t really see the Nats as being players for any of these guys, particularly since they would have to forfeit likely the top pick in the second round. Of course considering their abysmal record with second-round picks, maybe that wouldn’t be a bad thing . . .


    12 Nov 22 at 2:15 pm

  3. I realize this is a post on the q-offer but I’m curious why you feel an international draft would likely kill foreign baseball in a number of countries?


    14 Nov 22 at 9:41 am

  4. Here’s an older article of some length about the international draft. I think most of the same arguments are still made:

    Bonus points for mention of the legendary Smiley Gonzalez and fraud in the system!

    I have no idea whether to believe this spin, but it’s the same spin that is regularly spun. As things stand, it seems crazy to make million-dollar deals based on performance as 15- and 16-year-olds. In fact, the Nats had some of their better “success” (relatively speaking) with “older” Latin prospects (usually 17) who had been passed over the year prior. I’m doing this off the top of my head, but I believe these guys all were signed at 17/18: Rey Lopez, Difo, Severino, Marmolejos, and Suero.


    14 Nov 22 at 12:35 pm

  5. Rule 5 protection deadline is tomorrow! The extra quirk right now is that the Nats’ 40-man currently is at 39. So they’re going to have to dump some marginal guys to “save” some, well, marginal guys.

    From my view in the cheap seats, the only sure things are Alu and Cronin. I’d wager that Rizzo protects Rutledge too, just because. (No one’s gonna take him, Mike!) Denaburg seems too far from viable for even Rizzo to feel the need to protect him, though. And frankly, there’s probably more risk of losing someone like Jose Ferrer or Alex Troop than there is Rutledge.

    So the only guys from the 2019 draft who have made a real case to be protected are the 4th rounder (Cronin) and the 24th rounder (Alu):


    14 Nov 22 at 1:24 pm

  6. Todd Boss

    14 Nov 22 at 1:27 pm

  7. Todd, thanks for the links. while I’m not ready to dispute your opinion on this, it appears that the inclusion of PR only and making 18 the minimum age would not be an issue if you drafted at 16 and did so world wide. that’s what I assumed was the proposed plan. I’ll have to do more reading on the subject. thanks again


    15 Nov 22 at 8:50 am

  8. Instituting an international draft removes most of the incentives for players in developing countries (DR, Panama, Venezuela, etc) from developing players. Its as simple as that. Its precisely what happened in Puerto Rico and it would be precisely what would happen in the DR.

    Baseball used to have dozens and dozens of Puerto Rican players; now there’s just a handful. It isn’t a coincidence.

    An international draft works in Basketball because there’s well funded, organized leagues all over the world. The European basketball league is fantastic. We don’t have that in the DR or in Venezuela, and a draft would destroy the baseball development culture there.

    Todd Boss

    15 Nov 22 at 9:08 am

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