Here’s the wrap on how Monday’s qualifying offer deadline went down. First, here’s a quick guide to the qualifying offers game:
- Teams are allowed to make $14.1 million qualifying offers to free agents they’ve employed for at least a year and thus secure a draft pick if they depart. That pick will come immediately following the first round of the draft, regardless of what team signs the player.
- Teams that sign players who were given qualifying offers lose their first-round pick, as long as that first-round pick isn’t in the top 10, Teams with top-10 selections lose their next picks instead.
- Why $14.1 million? That’s the average of the top 125 player salaries. It’s up from $13.2 million last year.
- Players given qualifying offers have until Nov. 11 to accept or reject them. Players rejecting the offers will still be allowed to negotiate and re-sign with their former teams.
What we learned throughout the day:
- The Yankees have made qualifying offers to Robinson Cano, Hiroki Kuroda and Curtis Granderson.
- The Cardinals have made an offer to Carlos Beltran.
- The Blue Jays have declined to give one to Josh Johnson.
- The Reds made an offer to Shin-Soo Choo, but not to Bronson Arroyo.
- The Indians are giving an offer to Ubaldo Jimenez.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said that Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew are getting qualifying offers, while Jarrod Saltalamacchia is not.
- The A’s declined to give offers to either Bartolo Colon or Grant Balfour.
- The Mariners extended an offer to Kendrys Morales.
- The Braves made a qualifying offer to Brian McCann, but not to Tim Hudson.
- The Royals made Ervin Santana a qualifying offer.
- The Pirates did not make an offer to A.J. Burnett.
- The Rangers made Nelson Cruz a qualifying offer.
In all, 13 free agents received qualifying offers, with no real surprises either way.
Matt Garza was the lone elite free agent ineligible to receive an offer. He was traded from the Cubs to the Rangers in July.
Here is the rundown of qualifying offers for the top 25 free agents from our overall 150.
1. Robinson Cano (2B Yankees): YES
2. Jacoby Ellsbury (OF Red Sox): YES
3. Shin-Soo Choo (OF Reds): YES
4. Matt Garza (RHP Rangers): ineligible
5. Ervin Santana (RHP Royals): YES
6. Ubaldo Jimenez (RHP Indians): YES
7. Brian McCann (C Braves): YES
8. Curtis Granderson (OF Yankees): YES
9. Carlos Beltran (OF Cardinals): YES
10. Hiroki Kuroda (RHP Yankees): YES
11. A.J. Burnett (RHP Pirates): NO
12. Nelson Cruz (OF Rangers): YES
13. Mike Napoli (1B Red Sox): YES
14. Tim Hudson (RHP Braves): NO
15. Stephen Drew (SS Red Sox): YES
16. Bronson Arroyo (RHP Reds): NO
17. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C Red Sox): NO
18. Joe Nathan (RHP Rangers): NO
19. Bartolo Colon (RHP Athletics): NO
20. Ricky Nolasco (RHP Dodgers): ineligible
21. Jason Vargas (LHP Angels): NO
22. Kendrys Morales (1B-DH Mariners): YES
23. Brian Wilson (RHP Dodgers): ineligible
24. Dan Haren (RHP Nationals): NO
25. Scott Kazmir (LHP Indians): NO
Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.
Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.
Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.
Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.
The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.
Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.
Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.
The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.
Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.
Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.
Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.