Though Ervin Santana and Nelson Cruz have both caved and agreed to one-year deals after their free agent markets were significantly weighed down by their rejection of qualifying offers, Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew have no such plans to do, agent Scott Boras tells ESPN's Jerry Crasnick. Instead, the two plan to continue working out while awaiting multi-year deals, and could hold out until after the June amateur draft to do so (after which the draft compensation will no longer apply).
Boras feels that the qualifying offer system has "basically prevented them from free agency," opining that the system has instead placed both players "in jail." He offers criticism both of the system and of those who feel that his clients simply made a poor decision by not accepting a qualifying offer. Says Boras:
"Everybody talks about these players turning down these (one-year) qualifying offers like they're village idiots. The reason is, they don't want to be in the same position again next year. If I'm a good player, I'm going to take the prospect of free agency. If I'm one of these players, I'm not on the train to free agency — I'm on the ferris wheel of multiple qualifying offers. It is circular. There is no escape hatch to the system."
Whether or not one agrees with Boras' assessment of the system, there's certainly truth to the fact that players coming off strong seasons don't want to sign a one-year deal and find themselves in the same situation a year later. Players want security and stability both for themselves and their families; the prospect of either being separated from your family for a year or continually moving your family around the country does not appeal to many.
From my view, it's rather telling that Jhonny Peralta, who is nearly 11 months older than Drew and coming off a season in which he served a 50-game suspension for PEDs, was able to secure a four-year, $53MM contract while Drew remains unemployed. There's something to be said about contending teams with significant payrolls simply not feeling a need to add a shortstop, but one would imagine that Drew's market would improve significantly were the qualifying offer not attached. That's not to say he'd have received as large a guarantee as Peralta, but a reasonable three-year deal seems like it should have been attainable. A one-year deal, even at a higher rate than the average annual value he might receive on a three- or four-year deal, doesn't seem practical for a 30-year-old shortstop coming off a solid season.