Michael Weiner: qualifying offer system “hasn’t worked out”

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Mark Feinsand has a revealing quote from MLB Players Association executive director Michael Weiner on baseball’s new qualifying offer system:

“While neither us nor the commissioner’s office have any legal obligation to bargain over that issue over the term of the basic agreement, I don’t think it was the intention of either side that you would have a player and you’d have clubs that would be interested in securing that player and be happy paying that player his salary, but would be stopped from doing it by compensation. That really wasn’t the intention.

“I can’t promise you that we’re going to be able to rectify it, but I know there will be discussions. It’s mostly good, but that part of it hasn’t worked out the way that we expected.”

Weiner described Kyle Lohse’s continued free agency as being “of concern”. The right-hander has yet to find a home for the 2013 season, at least in part due to the fact that any team outside the top-ten in this year’s amateur draft would have to surrender their first round pick. As the regular season draws nearer and the probability of Lohse leveraging only a one-year deal increases, teams unwilling to part with a first rounder on a short-term contract will be more likely to go with in-house options. The Rangers, rumored to still be in contact with Lohse’s agent Scott Boras, may use Justin Grimm or even Alexi Ogando in the #5 spot in the rotation that Lohse might have otherwise occupied.

Yankees, Mariners expressing interest in J.A. Happ

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.

In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.

There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.