Red Sox could non-tender Andrew Bailey

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Reliever Andrew Bailey’s days with the Red Sox could be numbered. After moving to Boston in the Josh Reddick deal with the Athletics prior to the 2012 season, Bailey has made just 49 appearances in his two seasons with the Sox. He missed most of the 2012 season with a thumb injury, then had his 2013 season end abruptly to undergo surgery to repair labrum and capsule damage in his right shoulder.

Bailey is now eligible for arbitration for his third and final year, projected to take home a salary north of $4 million. As a result, the team could opt not to tender him a contract for the upcoming season, suggests Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. Bailey would enjoy continuing his career with the Red Sox, though he realizes that may not be possible:

“I’ll just wait and see,” he said. “Hopefully something will get worked out. If they take me through arbitration or not, I love the city, love the area, love the guys, and it’d be great to get the opportunity to play there again.

“I’d love to be back with Boston. I don’t really know what’s out there for me. In my mind, we’re going through arbitration until I’m notified otherwise. If that scenario happens, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m a Red Sox. I haven’t even though about those scenarios yet. Until something is on the table, you try not to think about it.”

Bailey is expected to miss the first half of the season. Meanwhile, the Red Sox were happily surprised from a number of their bullpen pieces throughout the 2013 season, namely Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow, and Andrew Miller. While a healthy and productive Bailey would be an asset, the Red Sox have enough talent in their bullpen to move on and not have to make a $4 million gamble on a reliever heading into his 30’s.

Report: Qualifying offer to be in the $18 million range

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According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, teams have been told that the qualifying offer to free agents this offseason will be in the $18 million range, likely $18.1 million. The value is derived by taking the average of the top 125 player salaries.

At $18.1 million, that would be $900,000 more than the previous QO, which was $17.2 million. This will impact soon-to-be free agents like Jake Arrieta, Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Yu Darvish, among others. That also assumes that the aforementioned players aren’t traded, which would make them ineligible to receive qualifying offers. We’ve seen, increasingly, that teams aren’t willing to make a QO to an impending free agent and that trend is likely to continue this offseason.

The QO system was modified by the newest collective bargaining agreement. The compensatory pick for a team losing a player who declined a QO used to be a first-round pick. That was a penalty to both teams and players, which is why it was changed. Via MLB’s website pertaining to the QO:

A team that exceeded the luxury tax in the preceding season will lose its second- and fifth-highest selections after the first round in the following year’s Draft as well $1 million from its international bonus pool. If such a team signs multiple qualifying offer free agents, it will forfeit its third- and sixth-highest remaining picks as well.

A team that receives revenue sharing will lose its third-highest selection after the first round in the following year’s Draft. If it signs two such players, it will also forfeit its fourth-highest remaining pick.

A team that neither exceeded the luxury tax in the preceding season nor receives revenue sharing will lose its second-highest selection after the first round in the following year’s Draft as well as $500,000 from its international bonus pool. If it signs two such players, it will also forfeit its third-highest remaining pick.

Additionally, if a player who rejected a QO signs a guaranteed contract worth at least $50 million and came from a team that receives revenue sharing, that previous team will receive a compensatory pick immediately following the first round in the ensuing draft. If the contract is less than $50 million, that team will get a compensatory pick after Competitive Balance Round B. If the player’s team is over the luxury tax threshold, that team will receive a compensation pick following the fourth round. If that team neither exceeded the luxury tax nor receives revenue sharing, the compensation pick will come after Competitive Balance Round B.

Yeah, it’s a bit convoluted, but you do the best you can with a flawed system.

The Astros’ pursuit of Sonny Gray is “heating up”

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Jon Morosi of MLB Networks reports that talks are “heating up” between the Astros and Athletics on a Sonny Gray trade. Gray, obviously, would represent a big upgrade for the Astros’ rotation. He has a 3.66 ERA and has struck out 85 batters while walking 28 in 91 innings.

Morosi adds that Gray is not the only option for the Astros, as they are also talking to the Tigers about a potential acquisition of Justin Verlander and Justin Wilson. That would obviously be a much tougher deal to negotiate given Verlander’s 10/5 rights giving him veto power over any trade, not to mention the massive amount of money he’s still owed on his contract.

Also: I’m pretty sure that it’s in the MLB rules that any trade between the Tigers and the Astros has to involve Brad Ausmus, C.J. Nitkowski and Jose Lima, and that’s not possible given their current occupations and/or their deaths in 2010.