Quick Hits: Free Agents, Scherzer, Papelbon, Mulder

With Nelson Cruz, Stephen Drew, Ubaldo Jimenez, Kendrys Morales and Ervin Santana all in seeming free agent limbo after rejecting qualifying offers, Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan argues that the current free agent compensation system has proven to be too limiting.  While teams will give up draft picks to sign bigger stars like Robinson Cano, the so-called second tier of free agents are finding it much harder to get work.  "Last offseason, there were a number of guys affected in ways different than we expected compared to a freer market to pursue jobs.  It appears that's happening again, " MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said.  One club executive suggested to Passan that teams could make qualifying offers to more free agents next winter given the evidence about how it pushes prices down for some players.

Here's some more from around baseball…

  • The Tigers have recently made several important moves in the post-Christmas offseason period, and 2014's big early-year move could be laying the groundwork for a Max Scherzer extension, MLB.com's Jason Beck opines.  Beck thinks GM Dave Dombrowski will look to a one-year deal for 2014 to avoid going to arbitration with Scherzer, and those talks could lead to negotiations with agent Scott Boras over a longer-term extension.
  • Also from Beck, he wonders if the Tigers could discuss a new contract with Miguel Cabrera (signed through 2015) or possibly add another reliever to the bullpen.  Detroit has already addressed its main bullpen need by signing closer Joe Nathan, and also acquired Ian Krol and Joba Chamberlain for the relief corps.
  • Jonathan Papelbon discussed his name surfacing in recent trade rumors, the differences between the Phillies' and Red Sox clubhouse atmospheres and his joy at seeing his ex-Boston teammates win the World Series last October in a frank radio interview with Rob Bradford and John McDonald on WEEI's Hot Stove Show.  A partial transcript of the interview is available at WEEI.com.
  • The Phillies were interested in Mark Mulder before the veteran signed with the Angels, FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports (Twitter link).
  • Forbes Magazine's Maury Brown discusses Major League Baseball's growing revenues and the effect on player salaries and acquisitions in a podcast with BostInno's Alex Reimer, who has a partial transcript of the interview here.
  • MLB.com's Anthony DiComo covers a number of Mets-related topics as part of a reader mailbag, including how he doesn't see Dee Gordon or Didi Gregorius as logical trade targets for the team.


Leave a Reply

41 Comments on "Quick Hits: Free Agents, Scherzer, Papelbon, Mulder"


pft2
1 year 7 months ago

Not a single player on that list was drafted or developed by the team being compensated. What are they being compensated for anyways. Especially in the case of Drew who is a 2nd time free agent and was signed by the Red Sox who did not lose a pick.

I have trouble understanding why the MLBPA leaders agreed to this. While it is an improvement over the previous system where Type A free agents caused the loss of a pick, it was certainly not unforeseeable that the problem would continue. The QO offer should have required a 3 year commitment, not 1 year. Better yet, scrap the penalty and just give the team losing a player who gets a QO a supplementary pick w/0 penalizing the player and team who signs him. Actually, teams just deduct the value of the pick from what they offer so only the player is being penalized .

Most of those players will end up with decent deals, albeit at lesser deals than they would have got if no loss of pick was required. Tanaka kind of delayed things and. the trend is to later deals, January and even later. I believe Lohse signed only a couple of weeks before the regular season.

The players should take a good hard look at the MLBPA leadership. They have been soft of late. Maybe Tony Clarke can turn things around, we shall see.

WazBazbo
1 year 7 months ago

And, of course, the other side of the coin… tough to feel sorry for a player who turns down $14.1 million because he feels like he can get more elsewhere, then loses on the gamble.

kcstengelSr
1 year 7 months ago

Maybe more players would accept the QO if the rules were changed prohibiting QOs in consecutive years.

WazBazbo
1 year 7 months ago

That seems like a good idea! Pros and cons, anyone? I can’t see many cons to this…

C. McCarthy
1 year 7 months ago

I don’t think they’re so much scoffing at the $14 mil per year and feel they deserve more, I think most of them want a longer-term contract (even at less AAV) to give them some long-term security with a team of their choosing.

WazBazbo
1 year 7 months ago

And I do understand that… but my “sympathy strings” aren’t ever going to be extended to anybody who turns down $14.1 guaranteed dollars! $14.1 million in a year is a lot of security.

kcstengelSr
1 year 7 months ago

some good ideas, pft2. here are a couple of mine regarding a new QO system.
1. The QO may not be given in consecutive years. If a fellow accepts the offer or settles with any team for an one-year deal, he can’t be slapped with yet another QO the following season. For example, Kuroda would have been ineligible for the offer this year and would have been a “true” free agent.
2. If compensation is really meant to be a consolation for a team losing some franchise cornerstone (baseball has no franchise tags), compensation should be limited to rare cases. Compensation for “the top 125 salaries” in baseball appear to stretch the concept of franchise cornerstones, and it should be limited to, let’s say, the top 30 most expensive players (or 60). No teams lose draft picks for any signing and let the free market decide which players get the contract offers meriting a compensation pick. For example, if Kershaw next season walks as a free agent and gets a deal with an AAV within the top 30 players (or 60), the Dodgers get a compensation pick, but the Yankees will not get a compensation pick for Gardner unless some other team shells out the big bucks.
The QO system needs to be tinkered with, as it appears to be a broken system.

hediouspb
1 year 7 months ago

the draft pick money pool is what is hurting the players with qualifying offers. teams aren’t scared of the picks, just the money that they can spend on players.

kcstengelSr
1 year 7 months ago

Teams getting compensation picks actually have their money pool increased, so wealthy teams like the Red Sox and Yankees have an additional incentive to slap QOs right and left.
I can’t see how the current QO system adds to competitive balance. If anything, it appears to be a system to help the rich teams.

hediouspb
1 year 7 months ago

The point is that if it did not cost them money for draft picks teams would be willing to lose the picks to sign the guys. The mets would sign drew and use more cash to lure a younger player away from college.

kcstengelSr
1 year 7 months ago

And the Red Sox get even more money with the compensation pick slot money to “lure a younger player away from college.”
If anything, I want QOs to be prohibited in consecutive years. Will Kuroda get yet another QO after next season if he wants to keep playing?
The QO system is some not-so-subtle way of keeping talent on one-year deals. I remember when stars like Koufax and Drysdale “held out” a bit in spring training because they did not like their new one-year contract offers.

hediouspb
1 year 7 months ago

Are you comparing Koufax and drysdale to drew and morales? Mid level talent tuning down close to 14+mil. Is a very different thing.

kcstengelSr
1 year 7 months ago

Not talent wise.
Contract-limbo wise, yes. Back in the old days before free agency, no player could expect anything but some one-year contract. We seem to be going back to some system where players have limits placed on their ability to play elsewhere.
Just make it illegal for QOs to be given in consecutive years. More players would likely accept the QO if they knew that “true free agency” would follow, as it would be like “playing out the contract” of the old days.

Karkat
1 year 7 months ago

Drew and Morales had no business turning down their QO’s, honestly.

Shawn Baublitz
1 year 7 months ago

Agreed. Their agents should have looked them in the eye and said so.

What team would trade a top prospect (pretty much what a 1st rounder is supposed to be) and a big contract for a good player?

LoneTXRanger
1 year 7 months ago

As well as Cruz.

snapcase8p
1 year 7 months ago

I really think the Tigers should looks into signing Garza and trading Scherzer. I really like Scherzer, but I have a feeling the Scherzer contract is gonna be higher than is realistic for him going forward. By signing Garza, the Tigers won’t be handing out too unmanageable of a contract if it goes bad. Not to mention, they wouldn’t be losing a draft pick and they would receive a least a few decent prospects for Scherzer, without really losing much upside in the difference between Scherzer and Garza. 4/60 and some prospects for Garza looks a hell of a lot better than Scherzer for 5/6y for 100-140M and nothing else.

Chet Steadman
1 year 7 months ago

Agreed. Max is Overrated imo…..hes a 10-12 mill a year pitcher. But he will get 20 per.

snapcase8p
1 year 7 months ago

I don’t think Max is overrated and I think he’ll be worth whatever team pays him that much. I just think with the Tigers’ payroll, it makes sense for them, and they can be just as competitive but better set up at turning the roster over without being so handcuffed like the Yankees and all of their big contracts.

C. McCarthy
1 year 7 months ago

I agree Max is likely to get a contract he can’t live up to… I just don’t see him consistently pitching anywhere close to the level he did last season over a 6-year contract. That said, signing Garza to deal Max is a bad idea. The Rays can’t unload Price with 2 years of control and there are still a ton of solid starting pitchers out there. Not sure who would want to give up much of anything for a 1-year rental on Max when they can just sign him next year. The Tigers should ride Max and the rest of the rotation this season, let him walk next year, extend Cabrera, and then look to add a different pitcher for 2015. JV-Sanchez is still a great 1-2 and you’ve got Porcello-Smyly at the bottom, just need a solid #3 to continue to have a pretty dominant rotation over the next several seasons.

Guest
1 year 7 months ago

Much like us poor schmucks who earn much less than $1MM annually, free agents ought to learn that there may be a (significant) disconnect between how much they THINK they’re worth and how much a team is actually willing to pay them.

phillies1102
1 year 7 months ago

I’ve always thought the QO of $14.1 was way too high. But it turns out, the best way to solve this problem is to make the offer even bigger.

hediouspb
1 year 7 months ago

Or for some players to realize that they should accept the offer. No player has accepted one. I look at drew or morales and see a guy who is probably worth a deal at around 3 for 30. If he had accepted he would be half way there in year one with two to go.

Robb Logan
1 year 7 months ago

Rafael Soriano did a few years back with the Braves. The Rays turned that into gold for a season by getting him via trade for Jesse Chavez. A steal of a trade for Tampa but a necessity of a trade for Atlanta due to money. It was a shock Soriano accepted it.

22deputydo33
1 year 7 months ago

it would seem that a salary cap is needed more than ever for major league baseball maybe something on the type that the NFL has in place. Teams are getting very squeemish about paying big money to players. many players would be better off if they did accept QO’s from teams that offer a QO to said players. at least they would not be sitting at home wondering where they will playing the next season and they would have a pay check

Croagnut
1 year 7 months ago

Is Joba Chamberlain really “addressing a need”?

Thomas Validation
1 year 7 months ago

thats pretty cool

1 year 7 months ago

The QO system is a detriment, but the number one concern is that all of these players want drastically more than their worth. Cruz wouldn’t get 75 million even if there was no compensation. He and Morales are basically praying for the Orioles to offer one of them a deal before the other.

Teams get burned on long term expensive deals more often than not, but they line up to hand them out to the elite players. When the non elite players want them, then who’s fault is it? 14 million for one year is a very good salary. Maybe they should try accepting a lot of guaranteed money.

Prozack
1 year 7 months ago

I are gregorious being perfect for the mets actually.

johnrhee
1 year 7 months ago

What players will the Phillies receive if they do trade Papelbon and Cliff Lee in the trade (also between Nick Franklin or Brad Miller if there’s a third team needing a second baseman or shortstop since Cano is w/ the Mariners now)?

burnboll
1 year 7 months ago

Depends on how much of lee’s and Papelbons contracts Phillies are prepared to eat.

If it’s like the rumor says that Rube won’t take on any money, they won’t any prospects worth mention back.

But it they take on say everything but let’s say 9 million per year on Lees contract and maybe 4 mil on Papelbons, they could get talent similar to Taijuan Walker or a Bogaerts.

Not saying those teams are interested, but if Phillies pay enough on remaining contracts, there could be a good return.

Best option IMO would be for the Phillies to take on 80 percent of the salaries of Lee, Hamels,Papelbon and trade for prospects that are just below the very elite. Like a syndergaard.

johnrhee
1 year 7 months ago

If Taijuan Walker gets traded like to the Phillies or Tigers, what pitchers up in the first round of the MLB Draft in June the Mariners will go after should any of them be available when the team selects between Carlos Rodon (NC State), Jeff Hoffman (East Carolina), or Brian Finnegan (TCU) that can reach the Majors in couple years w/o a setback but consistent pitching stats?

burnboll
1 year 7 months ago

Look bro, I mentioned Taijuan Walker as an example, that type of talent would available if the Phillies ate considerable amount of their veterans contracts.

I am not saying it has to be Walker per se. It could be a guy like Correa – and now I am assuming you will say that Astros have no interest in trading for veterans.

To be very pedagogical, I am saying Phillies, with paying big chunks of their veterans contracts, could get good quality prospects in return.

A team like the Pirates who are growing into contenders may be a fit.

johnrhee
1 year 7 months ago

For Smoak if Tabata or Snider is available for the Phillies to acquire.

burnboll
1 year 7 months ago

Papelbon is awesome. He pulls no punches and tells it like it is. Hope he can sign with a good team.

dylanp5030
1 year 7 months ago

He can’t sign with anyone. He is with the Phils.

Chet Steadman
1 year 7 months ago

although i like Max…..I think he will be the most overpaid pitcher in baseball….dude has had 1 real good season : /

snapcase8p
1 year 7 months ago

I thought that distinction went to Matt Cain :/

Jake13
1 year 7 months ago

Well, for 1 1/2 seasons he has been the best pitcher in the AL so of course the guy is going to be expensive

Chet Steadman
1 year 7 months ago

The best if wins gets you that honor. Darvish has a better era/whip/strikeout number which is what i’d rather have.

Roger Wilco
1 year 7 months ago

I’m getting a little tired of hearing the “woe is me” story of these guys who turned down $14.1MM to try and get a better deal. $14.1MM is a lot of money and, frankly, only 1 or two of those guys listed are worth that much for one year. Maybe if some players started accepting these offers, owners would be less likely to offer them for tier 2 players.