Which Players Might Bring Draft Pick Compensation After 2012?

After accepting Boston's arbitration offer this winter, David Ortiz submitted a $16.5MM salary figure for 2012 against the team's $12.65MM.  They ended up settling at the midpoint recently.  Ortiz's $14.575MM salary will not be possible for a free agent accepting arbitration after the 2012 season, however, because the new collective bargaining agreement simplified the process.  Draft pick compensation for a departing free agent will require the team to make a "qualifying offer" in the $12-13MM range.  The qualifying offer amount will be determined by averaging the top 125 salaries from 2011.  This offer will be fixed each offseason, even for players already earning more than the qualifying offer amount, MLB told me today.

Though 2011 salaries are used for the 2012 qualifying offer (which reflects the player's potential 2013 salary), MLB does not seem to know the exact amount, so we'll use $12.5MM as a proxy for now.  For elite free agents, a qualifying offer will be a lock, as will their decision to turn it down.  The locks for 2012 appear limited to starting pitchers: Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, and Zack Greinke.  A look at the more borderline potential free agents from the 2012-13 class follows.

  • Yadier Molina, Mike Napoli, Miguel Montero: $12.5MM catchers are pretty rare, though one could make a sabermetric case that all three will be worth risking that amount on a guaranteed one-year deal if they have solid 2012 seasons.  Montero seems the least likely of the trio to receive a qualifying offer, however.
  • Lance Berkman: If Berkman replicates his 2011 season, the Cardinals won't mind risking a raise of less than a million bucks.  But if he plays 125 games and is only pretty good, it'll be a tough decision.
  • Brandon Phillips: By exercising his 2012 option, the Reds showed they were comfortable with an $11.25MM net price on Phillips.  If he slips back to his 2008-10 production level, that may give the Reds pause.  If they offer and Phillip accepts, there would be a trade market if the Reds find the salary prohibitive.
  • Erick Aybar, Stephen Drew: Like Montero, the player may be worth $12.5MM in a sense, but the large raise could be hard to stomach.  Some of these qualifying offer questions are likely to be eliminated by extensions or diminished performance.
  • David Wright: If Wright struggles to an extent in 2012 where the Mets determine he is not worth a $15MM net option price for 2013, would they be willing to risk $12.5MM for two potential draft picks?  Would Wright be too insulted to consider accepting?
  • Josh Hamilton: I almost had Hamilton as a lock, as it's difficult to picture a scenario where the Rangers are unwilling to offer a one-year, $12.5MM deal.
  • Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Shane Victorino: Bourn and Upton are good examples of a borderline guys, as the Braves and Rays will probably not be thrilled with the idea of offering them $12.5MM for 2013.  Victorino seems a bit more likely to get an offer from the Phillies.
  • Andre Ethier, Carlos Quentin, Nick SwisherDavid Ortiz: It's tough to call until we see how these guys play in 2012, but Ortiz seems to have the best chance of an offer.
  • Edwin Jackson, Hiroki Kuroda, Colby Lewis, Shaun Marcum, Brandon McCarthy, Anibal Sanchez: Sanchez seems the best bet here, given a typical season.  No one else quite feels like a $12.5MM pitcher, but with decent years they'd all have cases.  Even Francisco Liriano could merit consideration with a bounceback campaign.
  • Ryan Madson, Mariano Rivera, Francisco Rodriguez, Jose Valverde: I expect qualifying offers for relievers to be hard to come by, and my guess is none of these guys receive one.


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34 Comments on "Which Players Might Bring Draft Pick Compensation After 2012?"


chico65
3 years 5 months ago

Wow…there’s no variation in the required qualifying offer by position, so all the ridiculous contracts for first basemen drive up the offer for a second baseman? 

It’s going to take a while to learn the nuances of this new CBA

jhfdssdaf
3 years 5 months ago

That was the idea, though more focused on relief pitchers.  Under the old system, Octavio Dotel was a type A free agent.  The Cardinals would have offered him arbitration, which essentially eliminated free agency for him.  Is he worth the $3.5 million he would have gotten in arbitration?  Detroit thought so, and the Cardinals may have as well.  Would Detroit have been willing to sacrifice a first rounder in addition to the salary?

Not a chance.

3 years 5 months ago

As it should be.  Compensation should be based on compensating a team for losing it’s most valuable players.  If the player has value, they’ll be paid accordingly.  No more players who are at the head of the class at a less valuable position being branded as Type A free agents, deterring clubs from signing them. No more clubs getting half a dozen supplemental first round picks because they allow six middle relievers to walk.

3 years 5 months ago

Tim, the figure for this season would have been: $12,532,063.33

You have to figure it should be between 12,750,000 and 13,000,000 for next season.

3 years 5 months ago

 Matt Swartz got $12.65MM, using 2011 data.  So yeah I agree, although MLB has thrown the 12.4-5 estimate out there so far.

3 years 5 months ago

Got it.  I just used excel to get my figure (along with Cot’s) so MAtt’s is probably more reliable.

That said, I appreciate the analysis.  It certainly changes everything at the trade deadline (as will adding more wild cards).

3 years 5 months ago

 That number will surely go up.  Not just because of the big free agent contracts this off season, which are partially offset by some bigger contracts expiring, but also because of the increase in the minimum wage, multiplied over a couple hundred players.

chenlinini
3 years 5 months ago

No Swisher, Tim? I think he’d be a definite borderline candidate considering his performance, age, 2012 salary, and the team that he plays for. Low risk, moderate reward given the team.

Roy Munson
3 years 5 months ago

Swisher, no?

3 years 5 months ago

 Oh yeah, good one to lump in with Ethier and such.

Devon Henry
3 years 5 months ago

Swisher for 12 mil oh gawd no.

shockey12
3 years 5 months ago

No. Swisher isn’t even close to being worth $13M

Roy Munson
3 years 5 months ago

Never quite did understand the Swisher hate, He’s versatile, plays a manageable right field and gets on base a ton. Look at how much some other RF’ers are getting paid and compare it to Swishers Salary this year… He’s a steal at 10.25 Mill. So he’s real close to being worth 13 MMnext year.

3 years 5 months ago

Swish has been fairly consistently a 3-4 fWAR player. 1 year for 13M is a deal the Yankees jump at if he has another typical Swish year. They have no legit internal replacements, and the free agent OF market next year really doesn’t offer a no doubt upgrade. The AAV might be slightly higher than what he would get on the open market, but that would be a worthy tradeoff  in not having to give him a 3-5 year contract. 
The likelihood is that Swish would decline the qualifying offer.

aricollins
3 years 5 months ago

Josh Hamilton is a no-doubt upgrade, but I agree with everything else you say, including that a one-year deal with Swisher would probably be better.

3 years 5 months ago

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yankees make that offer for Rivera if he’s still effective this year

3 years 5 months ago

 Well, they didn’t offer arb before his current contract.

3 years 5 months ago

12-13M would be a discount over his current contract
They didn’t offer arb because he could have gotten over 15M in the arb process. If he is effective again, I doubt the Yankees balk at offering the required 12-13M
It really doesn’t matter though since there is virtually zero chance Mo signs somewhere else.

Roy Munson
3 years 5 months ago

 No Way, if he decides to play beyond this year it will be on 1 year deals with the Yankees Only

3 years 5 months ago

McCann?  Or does the Braves option screw that up?  I don’t really understand arb that well.

jbryant93
3 years 5 months ago

The interesting thing is the 2nd round of the 2013 draft will actually be a 2nd round instead of round 3.5.

The way I understand it, for every pick added (at end of 1st round), the signing team loses their 1st or 2nd round pick so the net is no picks lost or gained.

James Attwood
3 years 5 months ago

Unless Montero has an absolutely monster year, even bigger than last year, I can’t imagine the Dbacks offing him $12.5MM + on a 1-year deal, not with Kennedy and Hudson still needing to be paid. It’s sad really, because the Dbacks have something special in Montero. I rather hope a 3-4 year deal in the 10 per year range gets done instead. I rather doubt it though.

Dbacks have a $10MM option they can exercise on Drew if they really want to keep him. Coming back from an injury season where his offensive numbers were already down before the injury makes this a very big make-or-break season for Drew.

3 years 5 months ago

I think the Drew option is mutual, so if he has a strong year he’d probably turn down his side.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 5 months ago

You’re correct, according to Cot’s it’s a mutual option.

James Attwood
3 years 5 months ago

Yup, it’s mutual. Missing fine print is what I get for not wearing my glasses while reading a spreadsheet.

3 years 5 months ago

Jose Valverde-  I could see the Tigers making a qualifying offer to him for one year.  It’s a bit above his value (because closers are over priced generally) but not by a lot, IMO. 

mitch
3 years 5 months ago

I agree with you, Tim, that Hamilton would almost be a lock as well.  Even if he had an injury or down year, 12.5-13M wouldn’t be a tremendous risk if you think he would be good to go come spring.  However the fear of a potential return of drinking and/or drug issues could make give Texas great pause. Also, if 11M is a reasonable gamble for Ejax for 1yr and pitches like last year I don’t see why that extra 1.5M would be out of the question.

aricollins
3 years 5 months ago

Most of them should be able to beat that on the free agent market, and are good bargains at $12.5MM on a one-year deal.

Whether they fit in their respective teams’ budgets is another concern, of course.

New York should make qualifying offers to Swisher and Kuroda if they have typical years. Those are small raises over their current deals, and would not necessitate a long-term commitment.

Boston would be foolish to give Ortiz a qualifying offer if the new realignment system does indeed result in ~40 interleague games a year, as it’s often surmised it would have to. That greatly lowers the value of a DH.

aricollins
3 years 5 months ago

Josh Hamilton is a no-doubt upgrade, but I agree with everything else you say, including that a one-year deal with Swisher would probably be better.

3 years 5 months ago

What about a guy like Michael Bourn??

Could the Braves simply offer 1/$13MM and get a pick knowing that he’s going to have multiple offers that will be better in terms of years?? I don’t expect Bourn’s AAV to be $13MM for other teams’ offers, but there’s little chance he takes 1/$13MM over 5/$55MM or something of that nature…

-C

bayareabeast
3 years 5 months ago

the force is weak in you

bayareabeast
3 years 5 months ago

woulda been better off saying something about zito..

ratmoss
3 years 5 months ago

Sounds a little like the Dominican

chico65
3 years 5 months ago

Someone should create a regression model and examine the interaction between proxies for fandom and nerdiness.