Rockies make $15.3 million qualifying offer to Michael Cuddyer

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Rarely does a qualifying offer catch everyone by surprise, but the Rockies just did that by making one to Michael Cuddyer.

Cuddyer hit .307 with an .886 OPS in three seasons for the Rockies, but he also missed 206 of a possible 486 games, including playing just 49 games this season. He’s a 36-year-old corner outfielder/first baseman who rates poorly defensively and … well, $15.3 million is a lot.

It seems pretty obvious that Cuddyer should accept the one-year, $15.3 million contract and return to the Rockies for another season, because if he declines the number of teams interested in giving him a big contract and losing a draft pick to do so figures to be very, very limited.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?