Joel Sherman of the New York Post suggests that Yankees closer David Robertson could become the first player to accept a qualifying offer. The value of a qualifying offer made this off-season will be $15.3 million, which was derived by averaging the top 125 contracts in baseball. A player given a qualifying offer can either accept it to continue another year with the same team, or reject it to head into free agency.
Sherman argues that rejecting the qualifying offer has hurt middle-tier free agents, citing Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew as examples. Nelson Cruz would fit as well. If Robertson rejects the Yankees’ qualifying offer, teams will be reluctant to give up a first-round pick (or, for teams who finished with one of the ten worst records, a sandwich pick) for a reliever, as relievers are very tough to predict on a year-to-year basis. Sherman adds that if Robertson accepts the qualifying offer, the Yankees will be more likely to negotiate a multi-year deal.
In 2014, Robertson performed well taking over the closer’s role from Mariano Rivera, who retired. Over 64 1/3 innings, Robertson saved 39 games in 44 chances while posting a 3.08 ERA and a 96/23 K/BB ratio.
Even Drellich of The Athletic reports that the Boston Red Sox are cutting the pay of team employees. Those cuts, which began to be communicated last night, apply to all employees making $50,000 or more. They are tiered cuts, with people making $50-99,000 seeing salary cut by 20%, those making $100k-$499,000 seeing $25% cuts and those making $500,000 or more getting 30% cuts.
Drellich reported that a Red Sox employee told him that “people are livid” over the fact that those making $100K are being treated the same way as those making $500K. And, yes, that does seem to be a pretty wide spread for similar pay cuts. One would think that a team with as many analytically-oriented people on staff could perhaps break things down a bit more granularly.
Notable in all of this that the same folks who own the Red Sox — Fenway Sports Group — own Liverpool FC of the English Premier League, and that just last month Liverpool’s pay cut/employee furlough policies proved so unpopular that they led to a backlash and a subsequent reversal by the club. That came after intense criticism from Liverpool fan groups and local politicians. Sox owner John Henry must be confident that no such backlash will happen in Boston.
As we noted yesterday, The Kansas City Royals, who are not as financially successful as the Boston Red Sox, have not furloughed employees or cut pay as a result of baseball’s shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Perhaps someone in Boston could call the Royals and ask them how they managed that.