The Rockies announced that they have extended a one-year, $15.3MM qualifying offer to Michael Cuddyer.
Needless to say, this move comes as a bit of a surprise. The 35-year-old Cuddyer will turn 36 next March and played in just 49 games this season. While his production over the past two seasons has been unquestionably outstanding when healthy — he’s batted .331/.385/.543 and captured the 2013 NL Batting Title — Cuddyer was not seen as a candidate for a QO due to his injuries and age.
No player has ever accepted a qualifying offer, but Cuddyer strikes me as a candidate to be the first to do so. Should he reject, teams will have to forfeit their top unprotected draft pick in order to sign Cuddyer. Given his inability to stay on the field last year and his defensive question marks, that may be a lot for a team to stomach. It’s also worth pointing out that the $15.3MM sum would represent nearly half of the total guarantee on Cuddyer’s previous three-year, $31.5MM contract, meaning he’d be getting a substantial raise in terms of AAV. One possibility is that the Rockies are using the qualifying offer as leverage with the hope of getting Cuddyer to agree to a more affordable two-year extension.
Cuddyer and other players who have received the QO can be followed using MLBTR’s Free Agent Tracker.