The deadline for teams to issue qualifying offers is on Monday at 5pm EST. Between now and then, we’ll likely hear some chatter about players that likely will or will not receive the QO. It’s valued at $17.4MM this year. Those who need to brush up on the new rules should read this primer.
While quite a few situations are obvious (in either direction), it’s worth bearing in mind that there have been surprises in the past. Here’s some QO-related chatter that’s been floating around on Sunday.
- The Rays are likely to issue a qualifying offer to right-handed starter Alex Cobb, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com hears (Twitter link). Cobb pitched to a 3.66 ERA with a typically strong 47.8% ground ball rate across 179 1/3 innings in his first full season since undergoing Tommy John surgery. The 30-year-old started 29 games in 2017. The MLBTR team predicts a four-year, $48MM contract for him.
- Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago opines that the Cubs will issue a QO to both Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis (something that has long seemed likely). He further speculates that the (unlikely) event of Davis accepting the offer would represent an ideal scenario for the Cubs, who don’t have an obvious replacement for him in the closer role aside from perhaps Carl Edwards Jr., who struggled with command in the playoffs and has only 107 innings of major league experience. Both Arrieta and Davis rank among MLBTR’s top ten free agents.
- The Rangers are not expected to extend a QO to right-handed starter Andrew Cashner, Jon Heyman of FanRag reports via Twitter. He notes that the Rangers were considering the move, but that certainly would have been surprising given Cashner’s injury history and poor peripherals. Though he managed a 3.40 ERA across 166 2/3 innings in 2017, Cashner struck out an alarmingly low 4.64 batters per nine innings. He seemingly benefitted from some BABIP- and homer/fly ball rate-related luck as evidenced by his 5.30 xFIP. The MLBTR team predicted a 2-year, $20MM contract for Cashner, ranking him as the 27th-best free agent available.