The deadline for teams to make qualifying offers to outgoing free agents is 4pm CT today, and those decisions then must be made by the players by next Friday. In the three years of the system, no player has ever accepted a qualifying offer, even though the market later proved that a few should have. I expect teams to push the envelope this year, and there to be a huge number of qualifying offer recipients. Will any accept? Will any decline and see their market wither? Will Dexter Fowler get an offer from the Cubs? (Yes, of course he will.)
I’m going to start tracking the decisions that have been made public so far …
- As expected, the Cardinals will make qualifying offers to Jason Heyward and John Lackey. Heyward will decline in favor of a MASSIVE contract, but Lackey might have to think about it over the next week. He can probably do better than one year and $15.8 million, but teams might give pause to giving up a first rounder to sign a 37-year-old pitcher to a two or three-year deal. I suspect Lackey would be on the Cubs’ radar only if his market fizzles and they can get a bargain.
- The Royals will make a qualifying offer to Alex Gordon, as expected. And now we find out if the Cubs are truly interested, as rumored.
- In a bit of a surprise, the Blue Jays will make a qualifying offer to Marco Estrada, the 32-year-old righty with 5th starter peripherals and 2/3 results. Was it legit? Was it a mirage? It’ll be interesting to see if Estrada, who hasn’t made much money in his career, takes the chance on a multi-year deal, or goes for the guarantee of $15.8 million. That’s, you know, a lot of money. Even if he declines, I do not expect Estrada to be on the Cubs’ radar.
- (Other reports (example) are going around about guys like Fowler and Daniel Murphy Hisashi Iwakuma and Ian Kennedy receiving qualifying offers, though those are not official yet.)
- Jeff Samardzija gets a qualifying offer from the White Sox, as expected. I feel like he could find himself affected by that, especially when you consider the depth of the free agent class. The Cubs have been connected to their former righty, but I’m not sure he’d be an early target.
- As expected, the Cubs made Dexter Fowler a qualifying offer. He’ll decline, and will likely explore free agency fully before seeing if there’s a deal that makes sense with the Cubs. We know the team loves what he brings – the only question is whether the four or five-year deal he can get will make sense for the Cubs.
- Daniel Murphy indeed gets the qualifying offer. Most folks think he’ll decline, and then some team will have to give up a draft pick to sign Murphy – 31, .288/.331/.424 career line with sub-par defense – to a multi-year deal. No thank you.
- The Orioles wound up making the qualifying offer to Matt Wieters, so we’ll see if he thinks about taking it. They also offered Wei-Yin Chen and Chris Davis, as expected. I really like Chen, but there hasn’t been anything really connecting him to the Cubs so far this (brief) offseason. I believe the Orioles would very much like to hang onto him.
- And Colby Rasmus gets a qualifying offer from the Astros, who signed him last year for just $8 million. If he declines and they get a draft pick, what a solid signing that was.
- The Dodgers did end up pulling the trigger on a qualifying offer for Brett Anderson, who will probably decline, but it’s not a lock, given his past health issues. It seems like every borderline guy is going to get a qualifying offer. Like I said above: until a player actually accepts one to the detriment a team, they’ll just keep pushing. Zach Greinke and Howie Kendrick also get qualifying offers, obviously.
- Hisashi Iwakuma gets a qualifying offer from the Mariners, which makes sense, but is too bad, because he’s awfully intriguing as a second tier guy. With a draft pick attached – if he even declines the offer, which he might not – he’s just not as attractive. Seems there will be a lot of pitchers in that boat this year, which, well, could make a bunch of them attractive eventually, I guess.
- Denard Span did not get a qualifying offer. We’ll discuss that.
- Ian Kennedy did get one. Grumble. I’ll just do a full rundown in a bit, now that the appointed hour has arrived. UPDATE: And here that post is.