10 Players Receive Qualifying Offers
Yesterday was the deadline for teams to extend qualifying offers to players who are entering free agency. This years’ qualifying offer was $17.8 million, a figure that actually went down for the first time since this new format was implemented. A total of ten players were extended the offer this season, with the QO going to José Abreu, Madison Bumgarner, Gerrit Cole, Josh Donaldson, Jake Odorizzi, Marcell Ozuna, Anthony Rendon, Will Smith, Stephen Strasburg and Zack Wheeler. If a player does not take the offer, the team gets compensation if/when they sign for another team. Most of these players will not accept, but Odorizzi and Smith are candidates to take the one-year deal. Remember, they changed the rules recently so that a player cannot be extended the QO twice, so if a player takes the offer this winter they can re-enter free agency next winter with no compensation attached.
Sox Spin: The Red Sox exceeded the luxury tax last year, so if they are to sign one of these free agents who rejects the offer they would have to give up a second-round draft pick, a fifth-round pick and $1 million in international signing money. That isn’t much of a concern here, though, as the Red Sox are not likely to spend the money required for any of these guys. The pitchers, excepting Cole and Strasburg, are the most likely targets if they were to go after any of the names listed above.
BBWAA award finalists announced
The major awards, besides the Gold Gloves which were announced on Sunday, aren’t going to be handed out until next week. On Monday, though, we found out the top three finishers for all of the awards. Here are the finalists, with my picks highlighted:
AL Rookie of the Year
Yordan Álvarez, HOU; Brandon Lowe, TB; John Means, BAL
NL Rookie of the Year
Pete Alonso, NYM; Mike Soroka, ATL; Fernando Tatís Jr., SD
AL Manager of the Year
Rocco Baldelli, MIN; Aaron Boone, NYY; Kevin Cash, TB
NL Manager of the Year
Craig Counsell, MIL; Mike Shildt, STL; Brian Snitkey, ATL
AL Cy Young
Gerrit Cole, HOU; Justin Verlander, HOU; Charlie Morton, TB
NL Cy Young
Jacob deGrom, NYM; Hyun-Jin Ryu, LAD; Max Scherzer, WAS
Alex Bregman, HOU; Mike Trout, LAA; Marcus Semien, OAK
Cody Bellinger, LAD; Anthony Rendon, WAS; Christian Yelich, MIL
Sox Spin: Not much to report on this front as there were no Red Sox players among the finalists. That’s not much of a surprise, of course. Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and Mookie Betts will all likely get down-ballot MVP votes and Eduardo Rodriguez could get some for Cy Young.
Blue Jays trade for Chase Anderson
We got our first trade of the offseason on Monday with the Brewers sending right-handed pitcher Chase Anderson to the Blue Jays in exchange for minor-league outfielder Chad Spanberger. The Brewers had a team option for Anderson that they were likely to reject, so rather than taking the righty to arbitration they sent him to the Blue Jays. For Toronto, they have some exciting young talent in the lineup but there are plenty of holes to be filled on the pitching staff. Anderson has a 118 ERA+ over the last three years while averaging 146 innings per season, though his peripherals are not as impressive.
Sox Spin: The Blue Jays are not likely to compete in 2020, but they could be a sneaky contender if they make the right moves this winter. Anderson is far from the solution to their pitching woes, of course, but the Red Sox may be looking at them in the rearview mirror in the coming year.
Braves sign Nick Markakis
Free agency was not yet open for players to sign with new teams on Monday, but players were allowed to sign back with their old teams. That’s what happened with Nick Markakis, who is heading back to Atlanta on a one-year deal. The plan, it seems, is to platoon Markakis with a righty in left field. It’s not a sexy plan and is likely a money saver. Atlanta has talked openly about flexibility and has used other innuendo to suggest they aren’t going to spend a ton this winter.
Sox Spin: Atlanta is perhaps the most-rumored destination if the Red Sox do indeed trade Mookie Betts. With Markakis in place for one outfield spot, they would have to ship Ender Inciarte out to open room in the outfield. That’s still a possibility, perhaps even in a hypothetical Betts trade, but this early move takes away the possibility of a Betts-to-Atlanta deal.