In some instances the decision to make a player a qualifying offer is not so much a choice as a formality. Is there any doubt that Josh Hamilton will get a qualifying offer from the Rangers after the season? Not really, and it’s just as certain he’ll turn Texas’ offer down.
Most cases aren’t so predictable. Qualifying offers link players to draft pick compensation and affect their free agent value. So as teams contemplate whether to extend qualifying offers to their free agents, let’s look back at the players for whom teams were willing to surrender draft picks in recent years. Here’s the year-by-year breakdown:
- Victor Martinez, Adam Dunn, Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford, Scott Downs, Cliff Lee, Adrian Beltre, Grant Balfour and Rafael Soriano.
- Jose Valverde, Jason Bay, Mike Gonzalez, John Lackey, Chone Figgins, Marco Scutaro and Billy Wagner.
Recent history suggests teams are willing to surrender draft picks for impact bats, starting pitchers who appear to belong at the top of a rotation and select relievers, especially closers. This trend suggests teams will be willing to surrender draft picks for players such as Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn and Soriano this winter. Executives deciding whether those players warrant qualifying offers should take note.