As we’d been expecting, Cole Hamels did not receive a qualifying offer from the Cubs today. What looked like a sure thing at midseason was crushed by an oblique injury and crummy performance thereafter.
That means Hamels, 36 next year, becomes an unfettered free agent for the first time in his career. It’s possible the Cubs will try to re-up with Hamels on a reasonable deal, though the FanGraphs projections have him landing a two-year, $28 million contract, and I doubt the Cubs will go there at this time. I do think he can still be a very useful starter in 2020, though my personal hope is that the Cubs find a way to add a more impactful, front-end type starter.
Speaking of which, some of those guys got qualifying offers today, which means – when they reject and sign elsewhere – their new team will have to pay up some draft pick (and IFA) compensations. Details on that here, if you’ve forgotten, but the short version is that, as a team over the luxury tax, the pain for the Cubs would be the worst version: signing a qualified free agent would cost the Cubs their second AND fifth-highest picks in the 2020 draft (regardless of round), as well as $1M of its international bonus pool in the upcoming period. I’m not saying they wouldn’t do it if the money were otherwise there for Gerrit Cole or Anthony Rendon, but for other guys? It’s a huge part of the calculus.
The full list of players today receiving qualifying offers (a one-year, $17.8 million offer for next year):
- 1B/DH Jose Abreu
- LHP Madison Bumgarner
- RHP Gerrit Cole
- 3B Josh Donaldson
- RHP Jake Odorizzi
- LF Marcell Ozuna
- 3B Anthony Rendon
- LHP Will Smith
- RHP Stephen Strasburg
- RHP Zack Wheeler
Decisions on whether to accept or reject the offer are due within 10 days.
Eyeballing the list, I’d say the guys who could POTENTIALLY accept are Odorizzi and Abreu. Smith might think about it, given what happened to Craig Kimbrel last year, but he doesn’t come with some of the same late-season warning signs that Kimbrel did. Ozuna probably should accept but won’t (I suspect his market is going to be terrible).