- Upton ended up with a robust six-year, $132.75MM deal with the Tigers this winter, Reynolds says that Upton’s search for a new team hit a snag this offseason before he ultimately signed. Some teams’ potential interest in Upton was muted by their desire to avoid exceeding the luxury tax threshold. (Reynolds doesn’t say who, but it’s easy to imagine the Angels, for example, worrying about that issue.) Also, a robust trade market held up potential free agent signings, with some teams wanting to explore that market before making a commitment to a free agent. Reynolds also says that many teams were offering Upton short-term deals. The agent understandably notes that he found such deals unappealing, given that Upton is highly talented and just 28. Of course, Detroit ultimately came through with a long-term offer.
- It was, perhaps, a rough winter for Kendrick, who lingered on the free agent market before officially signing a seemingly disappointing two-year, $20MM deal to stay with the Dodgers. The qualifying offer had a strong impact on Kendrick, Reynolds says, since he didn’t have the “star power” of some other free agents who rejected the QO. For Kendrick, the effect of the qualifying offer on his market wasn’t purely about the amount of money he could get, but about the way it restricted his ability to choose what team (what manager, what front office, and so on) he wanted to play for. Reynolds says that it “wasn’t a slam dunk to jump out into the market” rather than accepting the qualifying offer, but Kendrick felt, and Reynolds agreed, that Kendrick had earned the right to choose his next team via free agency.