Starter Jeremy Hellickson decided to accept the Phillies’ $17.2 million qualifying offer ahead of Monday’s 5 PM EST deadline. Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, Hellickson was considering declining the QO but potential suitors told his agent, Scott Boras, that they were reluctant to give up a draft pick in order to sign the right-hander.
This isn’t anything new. Players with draft pick compensation have had a tough time finding a home in free agency since the QO system was adopted. Outfielders Ian Desmond and Dexter Fowler didn’t sign with their respective teams, the Rangers and Cubs, until late February prior to this past season, due to draft pick compensation being attached to them. Neither player got a multi-year deal and settled for salaries, $8 million and $13 million respectively, below last season’s QO value of $15.8 million.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, there is “increasing sentiment” coming out of collective bargaining agreement negotiations that the QO system will not be around for the next offseason. That’s great for free agents and teams that want to sign them, obviously, but bad for teams losing those free agents unless they’re allowed to recoup value in some other fashion.
As The Ringer’s Rany Jazayerli of The Ringer points out, the Royals could be one team stung by the change. Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer, Danny Duffy, Wade Davis, and Ian Kennedy will be free agents. Under the current system, the Royals could make them qualifying offers and receive a draft pick for each when he signs elsewhere. If the new CBA weakens teams’ returns for departing free agents, it could be poor timing for the 2015 World Series champs, as well as some other teams.