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The Mechanics of Moving the QO


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#1 yogib8

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 03:07 PM

The Qualifying Offer that is offered to a departing FA by his team in order to qualify for a compensatory pick following the first round of the Rule 4 draft, should the FA sign with another team, is the average of the AAV of the top 125 players. 

 

In 2015 this AAV of 15.8M encompassed the 31M of Clayton Kershaw to Ian Kennedy's 9.9M as the 125th highest salary. 

 

At this point 26 FA's have signed, 8 of which have impacted the QO for 2017 FA's.   Three; Price, Zimmermann and Greinke  increased their own AAV which was already in the 125

.

The others, Samardzija, Happ, Lackey, Estrada and Iwakuma  displaced the 5 lowest AAV salaries of the top 125, raising the bottom of 9.9M to 10M.   It is highly likely that by opening day the threshold of the 125 will be at 11M.

 

Without accounting for retiring players these 8 players have added 79.8M to the top 125 list, with a good number of costly free agents unsigned the 2017 QO has moved to 16.4M and escalating.

 

Iwakuma's 15M AAV deal with the Dodgers fell through which brought him back to Seattle.

The new contract is 1 Yr/10M, but has two options at 10M each plus inducements based upon pitching 162 innings in the previous year.  Each year also has a 500K bonus for reaching 150 IP plus another 500K for each additional 10 IP up to and including 190. 

 

For purposes of estimating the 2016 QO, Iwakuma's impact is unknown until the 2016 regular season is complete.

 

Three other players have been added to the 125 top salaries;  Heyward - 23M, Cueto -21.7M and Zobrist - 14M.  The net change including Iwakuma  sets the QO at 16.8M.

 


Edited by yogib8, 19 December 2015 - 04:18 PM.


#2 mjjm367

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Posted 07 December 2015 - 06:42 PM

That is getting quite expensive.  Since we have finally seen accepted QOs (3), I expect teams will be offering a lot less of them next year.



#3 yogib8

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 04:59 PM

That is getting quite expensive.  Since we have finally seen accepted QOs (3), I expect teams will be offering a lot less of them next year.

 

Under the current CBA the QO was offered to 9 players in the first season, followed by 13 and 12 and now 20.   In retrospect in 2014 Cruz, Drew and Morales would have been wise to accept the QO and don't we wish that Cuddyer did as well.

 

Colby Rasmus 28, chose to stay with the Astros, a good park for power and he is doubling his salary from 8M.   But Rasmus , will face in 2017 a less challenging opposition on FA, 6 of the top ten FA OF will deep into age 30; Beltran 38, Bautista 35, Cuddyer 36, Pagan 34, Morse 33, Ichirio 42.   The remainder Carlos Gomez 30, Jon Jay 30 and Gregor Blanco 31 are less imposing than Heyward, Upton, Cespedes and Gordon.

 

Brett Anderson at 27 also fits the same thinking, a very tough and loaded cast of FA pitching vs waiting one season, with a raise from 10M.  It also removes him further from a 4 year stretch in which he had TJS and a secession of injuries.   Over those 4 seasons he was limited to 32 GS and 200 ML IP. 

 

Matt Wieters 28 is a first round draft pick who following a 3 year stretch with 2 AS and 2 GG and a 22 Hr avg.  suffered a torn ucl which limited him to 100 games in 2014-15.   Back on the field after the TJS Wieters still showed rust after missing over a year. 

 

Dispite a weak FA class Scott Boras likely advised MW to accept the QO to rebuild his value.   Next season Wieters will share the FA spotlight with Jonathan Lucroy who will be of the same age.   Offensive catchers are always in play so both will be fine, meanwhile Matt and Scott will get by with the raise from 8.3M.



#4 mjjm367

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Posted 08 December 2015 - 06:52 PM

Excellent analysis yogi.  Nicely done.



#5 Saxon

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Posted 09 December 2015 - 11:52 AM

in the case of a Colby Rasmus...how could he turn down the QO? He knows that he's not a $16 Mil per season player...he was probably like "oh shit, I just got a guaranteed $16 Mil, $^c& wasting that opportunity with FA"...



#6 yogib8

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Posted 10 December 2015 - 03:36 PM

in the case of a Colby Rasmus...how could he turn down the QO? He knows that he's not a $16 Mil per season player...he was probably like "oh shit, I just got a guaranteed $16 Mil, $^c& wasting that opportunity with FA"...

 

Pretty smart on his part.  He'll still be young next season with a weaker group to contend with and if he can repeat 2015 and hit 20+ Hrs. and play lg. avg. defense in all 3 OF positions, someone will throw a pile of money in his direction, especially without the QO. 

 

With Springer and Gomez claiming two spots he will have to share time with Marisnick and young Preston Tucker.



#7 yogib8

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Posted 21 December 2015 - 01:55 PM

The possible QO value for 2017 now stands at 16.8M after my edit of post #1, which removed Iwakuma and added Heyward, Cueto and Zobrist.   The free agent market at the top end has moved slowly this year according to Ken Rosenthal;

Your eyes do not deceive you. The market for top free agents is developing more slowly than usual -- more slowly than it has during any of the four offseasons since baseball introduced the qualifying offer in 2012-13.

 

Thirteen of the top 20 free agents remain unsigned, using the list compiled by MLBTradeRumors.com. On this date last year, only three of the top 20 were unsigned; in each of the two years before that, a mere eight were.

 

Things will sort themselves out during the next two months leading to spring training, and right up to Opening Day. But the reasons for the deliberate pace are worthy of exploration -- as are some possible solutions.

 

First, the reasons:

 

The qualifying offer

 

Among the 13 top free agents who remain unsigned, nine received a qualifying offer, which this year was valued at $15.8 million.

 

Right-hander Mike Leake and left-hander Scott Kazmir both were ineligible for QOs after getting traded last season. Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes also was ineligible due to his contract, as was righty Kenta Maeda, who is coming from Japan via the posting system.

 

The threat of losing a draft pick surely gives teams pause on certain free agents -- most likely right-handers Ian Kennedy and Yovani Gallardo, perhaps even outfielder Dexter Fowler, shortstop Ian Desmond and second basemen Daniel Murphy and Howie Kendrick.

 

The attachment of a pick, however, should not affect some of the top players on the market – players such as outfielder Justin Upton, first baseman Chris Davis and outfielder Alex Gordon.

 

Teams that are not spending big.

 

The list includes a number of prominent high-revenue clubs.

 

The Yankees seemingly are waiting for some of their big contracts to expire. The Angels do not want to cross the $189 million luxury-tax threshold. The Rangers made their big investment when they traded for left-hander Cole Hamels.

 

The Mets rarely spend big. The Phillies are rebuilding. The Dodgers made a major run at Zack Greinke, only to get outbid by the Diamondbacks, and nixed a $45 million deal for Hisashi Iwakuma due to concerns over his physical.

 

Might the Yankees, Angels and some of the others jump? Well, a few of them should; the free-agent market next off-season will be notably weak. The Cubs, by signing outfielder Jason Heyward, infielder Ben Zobrist and right-hander John Lackey, took the long view, figuring they were spending not just for one but two years.

 

Teams that are "tanking."

 

Oh, no one will dare use that dirty little word, but the Braves, Brewers and Reds essentially have made every player on their rosters available, flooding the trade market with alternatives to expensive free agents.

 

The Phillies are in the same, er, rebuilding, mode. And the Rockies are another team willing to trade almost anyone.

 

The trade market overall.

 

Say you're a team looking for an outfielder. Justin Upton and Cespedes are appealing -- Upton, 28, is just two years older than Heyward, and a more accomplished hitter. But the trade options include: The Rockies' Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson; Dodgers' Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford; Yankees' Brett Gardner; Braves' Ender Inciarte and Reds' Jay Bruce.

 

Likewise, say you're a team looking for a starting pitcher. Leake, Maeda, Kazmir and lefty Wei-Yin Chen are among the remaining free agents. But the trade options include: The Indians' Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar; Rays' Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi and Drew Smyly; Padres' Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and James Shields.

 

The Dodgers, active in both markets, could trade for one starter and sign another. But to hear rival executives tell it, the trade front is full of obstacles. The Indians do not want to trade a starter. The Padres are setting unrealistic demands, as are the Marlins with Jose Fernandez. And the Rays, at least for the Dodgers, will not be an easy partner; they might be reluctant to trade with their former GM, Andrew Friedman, and beyond that likely value players the same way.

 

Now, some solutions:

 

Patience

 

Seriously, does anyone expect Cespedes and Upton to be unemployed in 2016? What about Murphy and Kendrick, even Gallardo and Kennedy?

 

Some of those free agents might not get the contracts they desire, but that happens in every market -- and the potential for such disappointment was especially acute this offseason, considering the number of quality players available.

 

Still, it's reasonable to be skeptical of claims that the money is drying up, that there are not enough teams left to spend. The Nationals "found" $210 million for Max Scherzer last January. The Padres "found" $75 million for James Shields in February. And did anyone expect the Diamondbacks to come up with $206.5 million for Greinke earlier this month?

 

The Dodgers, Nationals and White Sox are among the teams that, in the perception of rival executives, could do something big. The Orioles offered Davis a reported $154 million; they will spend a percentage of that if he departs. The Cardinals have yet to do anything of major significance, and -- like the Nationals -- offered Heyward $200 million.

 

Modified tanking

 

Yes, that's an oxymoron, sort of like, "fragrant stench." But if you're the Phillies - sitting on a ton of money, holding a protected first-round pick, knowing next year's market is weak -- why not take the plunge and make a strategic signing?

 

Upton would be perfect; he's young enough to still be a force by the time the Phillies return to contention. Desmond, because of his leadership abilities, also could make sense. Even a starter such as Leake could help stabilize the rotation while the team's younger pitchers develop.

 

The Braves seemingly have flirted with such a strategy as they prepare for the opening of their new ballpark in 2017, showing interest in Zobrist and free-agent reliever Darren O'Day, among other veterans. Agents, though, are skeptical whether the team actually wants to spend; the Braves' most expensive signing thus far is catcher Tyler Flowers at two years, $5.3 million.

 

An aggressive plunge into the market would make less sense for low-revenue teams such as the Brewers and Reds.

 

Sign and trade

 

The concept, at least to this point, is foreign in baseball. But it could be one way for a team with an unprotected pick, outside the top 10, to acquire a select free agent without losing its first-round choice.

 

Here's how such a pre-arranged deal would work: A team with a protected pick would sign a free agent saddled with a qualifying offer, a free agent desired by another club.

 

The signing team, with the free agent's consent, then would trade the player to the club that wants him, a club that presumably would give up prospects in return.

 

The player would get to a place he wants to go. The signing team would get players who are closer to the majors than a draft pick. And the trade partner would retain its first rounder.

 

The arrangement, under the collective-bargaining agreement, would be perfectly legal. But chances are no free agent will be desperate enough to require such a lifeline, and no team will go to such lengths to acquire a player.

 

The current CBA expires 12/1/16, so it is likely that the current system will be in play for one more season.   The 16.8M that I have reached is faulty...it is based on AAV.  The QO resets each year based upon actual value, including increases and decreases.   I also didn't account for the retirement of Aramis Ramirez who was a top 125 player in 2015 (14M).  

 

With the threshold of the top 125 likely at 11M, the 3M loss of AR will have little impact on my final estimate, the ebb and flow of the actual value may be more, but when all the salaries are inputted the new QO will exceed 17M. 

 

Whatever system follows in the new CBA, it is most certain that the MLBPA will not sign off on another process that is as restrictive to the players which aren't the sports stars.



#8 yogib8

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 02:21 PM

With the signings of Leake, Murph and Kazmir 17 players have signed contracts with an AAV that falls in the top 125.   The threshold is now 11M and the 2016 QO is now 16.9M with a number of players* available that will move the threshold and the QO.

 

* C. Davis, J. Upton, A. Gordon, Y. Cespedes, I. Desmond, Y. Gallardo, W. Chen and D. Span.  Possibly- D. Fister, P. Alvarez, D. Fowler.  



#9 mjjm367

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Posted 04 January 2016 - 07:13 PM

yogi - fantastic job keeping track of this.  Very interesting watching the amount change.



#10 yogib8

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 12:26 PM

yogi - fantastic job keeping track of this.  Very interesting watching the amount change.

 

Thanks, and none to late as the QO is circling the drain.  Now if I had thought to do this 3 years ago......



#11 Canada Mets Fan

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 12:41 PM

$16.9M for 2016??? Jesus, that's crazy. I wonder how many teams will decline just in the off chance a player will accept? 



#12 METS FANG

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 12:50 PM

I think you'll see far fewer this year after a couple marginal guys accepted.  The question you have to ask is the same I think many on this board proposed for Murphy.

 

"While I know this is an overpay, is one year with no guarantee beyond worth the higher dollar amount?"

 

Its kind of the football mentality.  I need to pay you more upfront, but this way I know I can get out of the contract whenever I want in case you get injured or stop performing.  

 

A great example in my mind.  Cleveland was stuck with a Michael Bourne who you got at a few million lower price than the QO he rejected from Atlanta, but he's guaranteed 4-5 years (vesting option) of good money when he clearly shouldn't even be a starter.



#13 yogib8

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 02:35 PM

In 2012 Bourn was the only one of the nine who didn't sign for at least the average of the QO.  IMO, Boras oversold him resulting in him not being signed until camps were open in Feb. '13'.   Ironically, Boras was probably responsible for BJ Upton signing for 5/75 10 weeks earlier as that seemed as a bargain compared to what Bourn was seeking.

 

The following year, arguably Drew and Morales didn't rate the QO or Cuddyer last season.  Both of those classes were groups of 12-13.   This season the QOs jumped to 20 and was filled with marginal players like Anderson, Wieters and Rasmus who all wisely accepted the QO, but also Murph, Fowler, Kendrick and Ian Kennedy.   I don't see any of them signing for a 15.8M avg. or more. 

 

The QO by mutual agreement could be reworked in time for implementation for 2016, more likely not. 

 

I think you'll see far fewer this year after a couple marginal guys accepted

 

 

The overall weakness of the upcoming free agency class could have an affect of just the opposite with GM's thinking that marginal players at thin positions will pass on accepting the QO (17+ M) for the gamble of a longer contract in a weak class.



#14 mjjm367

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 06:39 PM

The overall weakness of the upcoming free agency class could have an affect of just the opposite with GM's thinking that marginal players at thin positions will pass on accepting the QO (17+ M) for the gamble of a longer contract in a weak class.

 

That is quite an interesting point yogi.  There is very little available next off season.  The biggest name off the top of my head is Strasburg.



#15 yogib8

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 08:50 PM

That is quite an interesting point yogi.  There is very little available next off season.  The biggest name off the top of my head is Strasburg.

 

Gio Gonzales if the Nats don't pick up his option.  Wieters and Lucroy at C, Encarnacion , Carlos Gomez and a older Bautista in the OF and closers Paplebon, Chapman and Jansen.   Not a lot of high end options






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