Following reports of the Rays shopping right-hander Jeremy Hellickson, now Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes that the Diamondbacks are interested in the former Rookie of the Year winner.
According to Piecoro, general manager Dave Stewart “acknowledged he has had discussions with the Rays about Hellickson” but “didn’t consider the talks to have been especially substantive.”
Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote previously that the Rays were close to dealing Hellickson to a National League team, which is why the Diamondbacks’ admitted interest is especially noteworthy.
Hellickson has two more seasons under team control, but he’s about to get fairly expensive via the arbitration process and has struggled since 2013 with poor performances and injuries.
Three straight offseasons filled with speculation about various free agents who received qualifying offers accepting the one-year deals and three straight offseasons in which no one accepted them.
In all 34 players have turned down qualifying offers since the system was put in place and zero have accepted, including borderline cases like Michael Cuddyer, Ervin Santana, and Francisco Liriano declining their teams’ offers today.
Here’s a list of all the free agents to turn down the $15.3 million qualifying offer this time around:
Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays
Nelson Cruz, Orioles
Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
Francisco Liriano, Pirates
Russell Martin, Pirates
Victor Martinez, Tigers
Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers
David Robertson, Yankees
Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Ervin Santana, Braves
Max Scherzer, Tigers
James Shields, Royals
Last year Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew clearly should have accepted what was then a $14.1 million qualifying offer, so we’ll see if any of this year’s offer-declining free agents regret their decisions in a few months.
For the second straight offseason Ervin Santana will hit the open market after turning down a qualifying offer, this time declining $15.3 million from the Braves.
Last offseason Santana did the same with a $14.1 million qualifying offer from the Royals and then realized the draft pick compensation hurt his market value to the point that he signed with the Braves for the exact same $14.1 million figure.
Last time around Santana was coming off a season in which he threw 211 innings with a 3.24 ERA in the American League. This time around he’s a free agent after throwing 196 innings with a 3.95 ERA in the National League.
Another free agent many people speculated would accept the $15.3 million qualifying offer has turned it down, as Francisco Liriano said no thanks to the Pirates.
Liriano is still able to re-sign with Pittsburgh, but if he signs elsewhere the Pirates will receive draft pick compensation and the signing team will forfeit a draft pick.
In two seasons with the Pirates the 31-year-old left-hander started 55 games with a 3.20 ERA and racked up 338 strikeouts in 323 innings while holding opponents to a .221 batting average and .628 OPS.
Given his up-and-down track record Liriano may have a tough time securing a massive long-term contract, but he’s at least convinced the draft pick compensation won’t keep him from getting a multi-year deal for similar annual money.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that reliever David Robertson has turned down the Yankees’ qualifying offer of $15.3 million.
There was some speculation that Robertson might accept the offer given that having draft pick compensation attached will hurt his free agent market, but clearly he’s convinced he can still get a multi-year deal for similar annual money. Perhaps from the Yankees, who’re still able to re-sign him.
Robertson was fantastic stepping into Mariano Rivera’s massive shoes as the Yankees’ closer, converting 39 of 44 save chances with a 3.08 ERA and 96/23 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. Dating back to 2011 he’s thrown 258 innings with a 2.20 ERA and 12.3 strikeouts per nine frames.