I couldn’t possibly call it quits for the week without passing along news that the Orioles have re-signed Lew Ford to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Baltimore dropped Ford from the 40-man roster last week and none of the other 29 teams claimed him off waivers, but he’ll try to make it back to the majors as a non-roster player.
Ford’s comeback was a helluva story, as he went five years between big-league stints, but he ended up hitting just .183 in 25 games for the Orioles at age 35. With that said: LEWWWWWW!
First baseman José Abreu and starter Jake Odorizzi have accepted their $17.8 million qualifying offers from the White Sox and Twins, respectively, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports. Reliever Will Smith signed a three-year contract with the Braves ahead of Thursday’s 5 PM ET deadline to accept or reject the qualifying offer.
The remaining seven players — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Josh Donaldson, and Marcell Ozuna — have rejected their qualifying offers, per Passan. They are officially free agents and will have draft pick compensation attached to them, a potential deterrent for some interested teams.
The QO is unlikely to materially affect the fates of Cole, Rendon, and Strasburg, but it could limit the markets for the other four players. Reliever Craig Kimbrel and starter Dallas Keuchel both had draft pick compensation attached to them after the 2018 season and didn’t end up signing until June. It seems unlikely that Wheeler, Bumgarner, Donaldson, and Ozuna would have to wait until June next year to sign but it may take a while for their markets to develop.