MLB Reportedly Willing to Ditch Luxury Tax and Qualifying Offers This Offseason
Because the offseason is not likely to produce much in the way of expensive activity in any case, it is mostly a humorous note at this point.
But, something to share, which at one point would’ve been extremely important to the Cubs:
Additionally, per sources, two possibilities on MLB side to move toward agreement could be removing the qualifying offer and competitive balance tax to help along free agency this winter. Story up soon.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) June 1, 2020
Generally speaking, there will be some players who would love to see qualifying offers and draft pick compensation ditched for this offseason, and also to see the luxury tax ditched for next year. I think it would matter only at the margins, as there will be only a team or two even remotely near the luxury tax level when all is said and done on the financial fallout of this season, but anything to help the players not get wrecked this offseason is a good idea.
As it relates to the Cubs, you can really only chuckle, right? After an offseason that was marked by discussions that always centered on the luxury tax – and the efforts to get under it this year so that they wouldn’t risk being three-time offenders next year – it might not even exist anymore. Welp.
… oh, and even if it does exist next year, it’s virtually impossible to imagine the Cubs ever would have committed enough new money in this environment to threaten $210 million in payroll anyway. And EVEN if you thought the Cubs might need to pare salary further to stay under the luxury tax, so you argue this is good news because it means the Cubs can keep guys like Kris Bryant, I would point out that the market for a guy like Bryant ($20+ million on a one-year deal) this offseason is going to be about zero. So, any way you scratch this thing, it’s highly unlikely that ditching the luxury tax for 2021 would actually wind up having any impact on the Cubs’ actions.
Also, regarding the qualifying offer, I suppose it’s possible that there could be an impact there on the buyer side for the Cubs (though, again, I expect another parsimonious winter), but definitely not on the offering side. Of the Cubs’ outgoing free agents, I have a very hard time seeing the team even wanting to risk a qualifying offer to guys like Jose Quintana, Tyler Chatwood, or Jon Lester, even if they put together extremely strong partial seasons. I think the market is going to be so bad that an $18-ish million one-year deal for any of those guys – again, assuming they pitched extremely well this year – would be worth accepting. I hope I’m wrong about what the market looks like this offseason, but I’m deeply pessimistic.
Hence, even if the owners offer these two concessions, I don’t see much impact to the Cubs. (Or most teams, actually … so how much of a concession is it, really? That’s not necessarily rhetorical, because it might help a little bit, but the vast majority of free agents won’t come close to a qualifying offer this year anyway, and the vast majority of teams would absolutely never approach the luxury tax this year, so?)