Astros Notes: Feldman, Qualifying Offers

Scott Feldman was surprised when the Astros pursued him this season, but the team was persistent, reports Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle. "I thought that they were more like in a rebuilding, just-going-to-let-all-these-young-guys-play mode," says Feldman. "And then after I talked to [manager Bo Porter] on the phone, he explained to me, 'No, no, we're done with that. We're trying to win.'" Feldman is now the Astros' higest-paid player, and they're counting on him to provide an example for younger players like Jarred Cosart. Here are more notes on the Astros.

  • The qualifying offer played a role in the Astros' decisions this offseason, GM Jeff Luhnow says in a wide-ranging interview with MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo. The Astros' top overall pick is, obviously, protected, but they also wanted to keep what is now the No. 37 overall pick, a competitive-balance selection they got when they traded Bud Norris to the Orioles. 
  • Nonetheless, Cotillo writes that Luhnow isn't as eager as some commentators to change the qualifying-offer system, which is a key reason Stephen Drew, Kendrys Morales and Ervin Santana remain on the free-agent market. "Players in order to be in that position have to turn down what a lot of people would consider pretty generous, life-changing money," says Luhnow, referring to the $14.1MM qualifying offer. "The intent of the rule is an improvement over what was there before. … Everyone had this conversation last year, then [Kyle] Lohse got signed and we went back to normal, so we'll see what happens."


48 Responses to Astros Notes: Feldman, Qualifying Offers Leave a Reply

  1. Kelly Waters 1 year ago

    I admire that the Astros are trying to win right now, but I’m not really sure that is realistic. Maybe in 3-5 years I could see it.

    • PXDX 1 year ago

      They definitely offered him the most $$$, that can be the only reason he signed. The next two years they’re, at best, a 90 loss team.

      • tmengd 1 year ago

        His wife is from there so that played a big part of it to I’m sure. Yes he did get paid will thigh.

    • Brian Stevenson 1 year ago

      I don’t think anyone in the organization actually expects to win the division THIS year. But they are saying that it’s time to stop just trading guys and acquiring prospects, and it’s time to start turning things back around with an eye towards real improvement. Astros could improve by 15 games easily this year, and at this point, the prospects are just going to keep coming and coming up through the system.

  2. Samhors 1 year ago

    If Feldman can help the young players develop a bit, I think it’s a great pickup. I think it’s going to be a few years down the road but I like Houston’s core youngsters.

  3. Aaron Johnson 1 year ago

    People aren’t understanding the debate behind the QO system. All I’ve seen on here is people saying…”If he didn’t want to sign for less then should have accepted the 14 million”. Well, nobody wants to play on a 1 year deal, I get it. But that’s not really the issue. The issue is whether or not the system is doing what it was designed to do, which is to help provide competitive balance. That’s a much better debate. It seems like it is having unintended consequences of rewarding teams that go on spending sprees. For instance, the Orioles (who I know are not traditional big spenders) have gone from being berated for being cheapos who won’t spend a dime to front runners to sign all remaining pick-tied players in a matter of weeks because once they signed 1, it made sense for them to sign a 2nd, and now makes even more sense for them to sign a 3rd player. It’s gotten to where the O’s now have a significant real dollar advantage in the market, because the value of losing their third pick is so much less than any other teams value of losing their first round pick.

    • The system isn’t in place to find players big contracts on small market teams. Encouraging spending sprees is a less than ideal consequence, but that plays into the bigger issue of a lack of market for those players because their asking prices remained unreasonable until so late in the offseason that there wasn’t much of a demand anymore.

      • Aaron Johnson 1 year ago

        The players that really get affected are the middle tier guys. The draft pick compensation doesn’t really come into play if a team is going to commit to a Cano type player for huge contracts. My point is that the middle level guys are hindered from signing with smaller market teams who covet draft picks more than the larger market teams with lots of higher paid, older, veteran big league rosters. Those teams don’t bat an eye to give up a draft pick to add to their already veteran team, especially if they can flip them next year and put them back in the QO system. I don’t know that there’s a better solution, but it’s worth looking at because the goal of providing competitive balance doesn’t seem to be panning out.

        • Middle level guys are hindered by their own demands.

          Take draft pick away from Nelson Cruz for a second and think about whether or not a small market team is going to give him 75 million. Or 100 million to Santana. By the time those players know that they’re demands won’t be met, the small market teams have usually spent their money.

          • Aaron Johnson 1 year ago

            I think Cruz’s deal had a lot more involved in it. I think the main reason he settled for less money (He was not only offered a QO, but was offered more than 8 mil again by the Rangers after the market was closing) was that he actually wanted that 1 year deal to reestablish his value. Coming off lots of shortened seasons due to injury, question about whether or not he could even play in the field, and PED suspension, he bet on himself and thought the O’s and Camden yards was a good place to answer those questions. No, he wouldn’t have gotten 75 million, but he definitely would have had more competition for his services had he not had draft pick compensation tied to him. There are some teams out there that just flat out WON”T sign players if they have to give up a 1st rounder. Demands are just that, posturing is how deals get done with agents. It’s the art of negotiation, and they’re playing the game.
            Again, my question was more about the overall consequences of the system on competitive balance rather than it’s effect on specific players and contracts. I think in aggregate, the system isn’t helping balance, and it’s worth looking at seeing if it can be improved.

        • johnsilver 1 year ago

          Middle tier guys never were worth 14m per season anyway. Morales isn’t any good with the glove and nobody is even sure if he can play 1b FT due to his health. He should have jumped all over 14m QO.

          Drew? 14m for him for 1y was more than he would have ever gotten as an AAV and 5m more than he just got. His (and Boras, just like with Morales) fault for turning it down. Drew can’t hit LH pitching at all. Hard to make a living as a glove who is a fair hitter vs RH pitching when Lowrie, Hardy and possibly even Hanley Ramirez will all be FA the following year. ALL being better overall players than is Drew.

          Blame the agent and players here. They turned down a quick 14m and are now in sour grape mode.

          • Aaron Johnson 1 year ago

            14 mil a year is a lot in terms of AAV, but not on a 1 year deal. Players will almost always take years over AAV. I’m not saying they’re worth 14 mil/year on a 3,4, or 5 year deal but certainly they’re worth 14 on a 1 year deal. There’s a reason why the teams offered them a QO to begin with.

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            Adrian Beltre took 1 year in Boston over 5 in Oakland…sorry, bitter A’s fan here.

          • As it stands now, they offered the QO because they knew it’d be turned down. I suspect Seattle, KC, and Texas would’ve been fine with Morales, Santana, and Cruz returning, but it was a near foregone conclusion with the second two. Given Seattle’s struggles to attract FA’s without overpaying and abundance of cash back in November, Morales would’ve been welcomed back at that price.

            When players start to accept the QO, teams will be more hesitant to hand it out.

          • Aaron Johnson 1 year ago

            I don’t know that I buy that teams offer QOs to players only because they know they’ll be turned down. That’s a big gamble to take, especially by a small market team, if you have no interest in that player and paying 14 million for him. If that were the case then why wouldn’t Pittsburgh have offered Burnett a QO? By market value he was worth it, and you have to think that Pittsburgh would want him back because they offered him a deal.

          • Where did I say that the teams had no interest in the player or that small market teams take the gamble? I did say that KC would’ve been fine with Santana returning and Seattle and Texas aren’t small market teams.

            I don’t think Burnett was worth market value to Pittsburgh. They were paying half his salary and 14 million represented a six million dollar raise that they obviously weren’t willing to stomach at that point in the offseason.

            It’s not as big a gamble as you’d think. So far 0% of players have accepted the QO and I discussed precisely 0 small market teams that I perceived as unwilling to pay their play 14 million.

          • Aaron Johnson 1 year ago

            I think we’re kind of saying the same thing and drawing different conclusions. Exactly 0% of the players offered QO accepted because the teams were pretty sure that they would be offered better deals on the open market and therefore they would either decline the offer and team would receive a pick or the team would be getting a player less than market value. So far, the only player of the 22 offered, only Nelson Cruz really got less than his QO. Even Lohse got 3/33 last year after he waited out the market. Not 14 mil AAV but surely better than a 1yr deal. Point being that a lot of people are saying that these players “aren’t worth it” and clearly, with the exception of the Cruz deal, they are based on what they end up signing for. I mean for heaven’s sake even Ricky Nolasco got 4/49.
            The bigger issue I posed was that the smaller market teams are less likely to sign QO guys because they covet the draft picks, therefore, they have a reduced pool of FAs they realistically can sign, and with pick compensation I believe it is hindering the market from the team perspective and ultimately I believe it has a negative effect on competitive balance.

          • johnsilver 1 year ago

            I don’t think Boston would have been stomping any feet over Drew accepting the QO had he accepted, the only guy I can remember accepting and being a burden for Boston, was Tony Graffanino.

          • slider32 1 year ago

            I agree to a point but the owners were also greedy trying to get compensation for middle tier players. Next year they both won’t be as greedy. Owners shouldn’t get draft picks for middle tier players. One solution would be to raise the compensation to 20 million then only the great player would get a qualifying offer. As we saw with Tanaka even though all the teams could bid on him only a few really wanted to make a bid over 100 million. The biggest change in baseball today if that teams are locking up young players to long term contracts to build there teams. This is what gives baseball parity. The great young players get their money when they are earning it rather than after they earned it. This is the only way for a team like the Braves to remain competitive.

      • Gnotorious 1 year ago

        Another contributing factor to the problem of draft pick compensation is the pool money. Some teams use their excess pool money to go over slot for guys. Losing a 1st round pick could cost you a later round guy also because you have less flexibility.
        Teams do deserve compensation for losing a star to FA and the players deserve to seek their fortune where they want. I see a lot of arguments against the current system and I haven’t heard anyone saying “lets go back to the old system” so what are the solutions?

        • I don’t see a problem. Middle tier free agents wanted elite salaries and waited all offseason only to find out that they weren’t getting big money. Where’s the problem?

          You bring up a good point of the draft slot money, but I don’t think that’s a deciding factor in why these ho-hum players who carry plenty of risk are still on the market.

          • Gnotorious 1 year ago

            I see your point that there isn’t a problem, I also see the point of some of the players. Santana is the one of the 3 remaining QO players that I think is deserving of a bigger payday than he will get. I also think that some players would have gotten more if they weren’t tied to a pick. Where I see the problem being is “competitive balance”. This system does not make a competitive balance between all teams. I think the Brewers, Padres, Rays and Royals all would have been more active on the FA market if the top guys weren’t tied to draft picks.

          • All of those teams were far more active now than recent years. The Rays, Brewers, and Royals have record payrolls. How much more do you want them to spend? All of those teams signed significant free agents.

            Santana might be more deserving, but he let the ship sail. When you choose to play the waiting game, you run the risk of teams moving on.

          • Gnotorious 1 year ago

            They were all more active but none of them went after a QO guy.

          • Is that surprising? Look at when those teams made their signings and when players started coming off the board. Jimenez and Cruz came off the board much later.

            Smaller market teams tend to be smarter with their money and make their moves earlier in the offseason. Players who are after big money tend to wait. Cleveland signed Michael Bourn last year and it’s certainly possible that Morales, Drew, or Santana could go to a small market team.

  4. PXDX 1 year ago

    They can try to win, but with Correa, Springer, Appel, Singleton, Foltynewicz and about a half dozen of their top prospects nowhere close to the bigs, Feldman’s going to have to wait until his last year of his contract to see anything better than an 85+ loss team.

    • tmengd 1 year ago

      I agree they might not win right away however Singleton and Springer could both be up by May and Folty and Appel could both be there in September also Wojo could make the team out of Spring training so I’m not sure how you seem them no where close to the bigs?

      • PXDX 1 year ago

        When you have to use phrases like “could be” and “might be” on the team, means nowhere close in my book. Being in the mix for the Opening Day roster is what I call “close”.

        Bottom line, barring all the other 4 teams in their div losing half their team with injuries, they aren’t going to be contending with Feldman on the roster, so his quote is a bit strange.

        • stl_cards16 1 year ago

          Guys that are expected to be up this year are close to the majors. Singleton and Springer would certainly have a chance out of Spring Training if it weren’t for service time considerations.

          All teams say they’re trying to win. Sandy Alderson said the Mets have a shot at 90 wins, Tom Ricketts said ssomething similar about the Cubs. I don’t really understand why people still find it surprising when these things are said.

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            Right, but it would be refreshing to hear Feldman say outright “They offered the most money and my wife and her family is from here.” No one is going to frown on him for that.

          • stl_cards16 1 year ago

            I really don’t think it’s anyone’s business why he signed there. He’s getting paid to pitch, not share his thought process behind every decision he makes.

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            If it wasnt anyones business he should have said so.

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            If it wasnt anyones business he should have said so.

        • Red_Line_9 1 year ago

          I saw Appel throw last summer. He’s a big league pitcher right now, and a little command work away
          from being a top tier starter. Economic issues
          aside…he could be up and doing well after the break.

  5. Lefty_Orioles_Fan
    Lefty_Orioles_Fan 1 year ago

    I haven’t the foggiest as to what Stephen Drew is trying to do.
    Plus, if he’s willing to play a different position, how in the world is he going to do that now? I don’t see it!

    Morales, not sure about him either.
    As for Santana, he should have gone back to the Royals.

    • PXDX 1 year ago

      Pretty much every player should accept the QO unless they just had an MVP year, or are 30 or under and know they can still get multi-years. $14M is plenty.

      • Until Drew, Morales, and Santana sign, the only player you could really say should’ve accepted it is Cruz. Jimenez got a four year deal which is more than he would’ve got had his 2014 season resembled his 2012.

        • PXDX 1 year ago

          Ubaldo had a great year, and his market largely was dependent on Tanaka. He was always going to get multi-years because, like I said, he is 30. Take Tanaka off the market and he signs much earlier.

          • Aaron Johnson 1 year ago

            Doesn’t really make much sense. Older players have much more incentive to seek a multi-year deal. The older you are, the more likely you are to be injured. If you’re playing year to year on a 1 year deal and you get hurt…it’s over and you aren’t getting another ML deal. That’s the majority of the push and pull between players and teams on years of a deal.

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            That’s the crossroads of where the market is at, actually. While players are always going to want long-term deals, teams are becoming wiser when it comes to them, knowing that they are paying more for past performances, and the odds are they will be getting lesser output from aging talent are much higher. So now players like Cruz are going to have to adjust and take the QO, which is more than reasonable, and throw away their fantasies of 4/75. This new market hurts players who don’t debut until they are 25-30, but if you are smart like Jayson Werth, you can still get that big deal. The players are going to have to make their buying out arby years count more than they used to, because post-that contract, things are going to dry up and the future becomes uncertain.

          • Aaron Johnson 1 year ago

            I suspect that you’re conclusion that “teams are getting wiser” is a bit overstated. 31 year old Nolasco just got a 4/49, 30 year old “can’t stay on the field” Jacoby Ellsbury just got 7/153, Napoli (32) got 2/32. Some of the teams are smarter than others with the older players and multiyear deals. But as long as there are still even a few teams out there like the Yanks and Sox who will lock players up into their late 30s and beyond, players will always seek to get those contracts or use those contracts as leverage with the middle market teams. I think it is a cycle that won’t end anytime soon.

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            *some* teams are getting wiser…the Yankees will never learn. Nolasco isnt that bad an option and Napoli’s deal was very fair.

          • PXDX 1 year ago

            *some* teams are getting wiser…the Yankees will never learn. Nolasco isnt that bad an option and Napoli’s deal was very fair.

      • TheRealRyan 1 year ago

        You’re being a little too strict in your assessment of players who should or shouldn’t accept a QO. So far in two seasons, the only players I thought should have accepted their QO were Cruz and Morales. Cruz for being a good hitter, but poor defender, coming off of PED questions. I thought he would have been better off accepting and trying to prove his value w/o any PED questions. Morales is an ok, but not great hitter who doesn’t really have a defensive position. I thought $14 million is more like 2 years of salary and he should accept. As to Drew and Santana, I still expect them to sign contracts that are worth at least $25 million guaranteed which tells me they were better off declining the QO.

  6. Jacob Viets 1 year ago

    You should get a pick in the first compensation round for losing a player who receives a contract greater than half the 50th largest contract (at the time of the draft) in MLB history, in my opinion. Then a pick in the second compensation round for a contract greater than 35%, but less than 50%, of the 50th largest contract (at the time of the draft) in MLB history. When you sign a player to a “Qualifying Contract”, (50+% of the 50th highest contract in MLB history), you give up your highest draft pick. When you sign a player to a “Semi-Qualifying Contract”, (35% of the 50th highest contract in MLB history), you give up your second highest draft pick. Compensation rounds will be ordered by the value of the contract the player signs. (Red Sox get a higher draft pick than the Braves for losing Ellsbury instead of McCann.) 2/3 the value of option years counts towards a “Qualifying” or “Semi Qualifying” contract, to avoid manipulation of vesting options so they’re easy to obtain, but not guaranteed money. Comments on my system are appreciated :)

  7. slider32 1 year ago

    Things will change next year when middle tier guys start taking the 14.1 million instead of going to free agency, owners knowing this might not be as greedy and not offer middle tier guys a offer. Either way things will change even if the MLB does nothing. I think the qualifying offer is over 15 million next year. All teams have their own way of beating the system, the Yanks for example overhauled their team this year will all their signings and only lost one first round pick while gaining 3 first rounders last year. The Rays have gone the other way and stocked up on compensation picks. Both ways are successful and are on the opposite side of the spectrum. Hindsight being 20/20 I think Drew, Cruz and others would have taken the 14,1 million this year.

  8. slider32 1 year ago

    Things will change next year when middle tier guys start taking the 14.1 million instead of going to free agency, owners knowing this might not be as greedy and not offer middle tier guys a offer. Either way things will change even if the MLB does nothing. I think the qualifying offer is over 15 million next year. All teams have their own way of beating the system, the Yanks for example overhauled their team this year will all their signings and only lost one first round pick while gaining 3 first rounders last year. The Rays have gone the other way and stocked up on compensation picks. Both ways are successful and are on the opposite side of the spectrum. Hindsight being 20/20 I think Drew, Cruz and others would have taken the 14,1 million this year.

Leave a Reply