Prediction: A Bounty of Qualifying Offers in 2022

The first prediction enables the rest: The MLBPA will not come to agreement with MLB over instituting an international draft by the July deadline this year. Therefore, the Qualifying Offer system will remain in place unchanged.

The Red Sox have four players to whom they will offer a QO after the season ends. They are JD Martinez (if he hasn't been traded), Nathan Eovaldi, Xander Bogaerts (if he opts out) and Chris Sale (if he opts out). I believe both opt-outs will occur. The Chris Sale opt-out takes a little explaining.

This is the only year that Sale has an opt-out in his contract. Afterward, he's facing two more years at a mere $22MM cash each (the CBT value is higher, but there is deferred money involved--deferred until the next decade, in fact). This is weak money compared to his peers. If Sale can recover from this rib setback and make 18 starts, 90 innings, 3.80 ERA (3.45 FIP), 98K, 22BB, then he's gone. He just turned 33 last week. Should he seek more money this year, or wait until he's 35? I think he'd be happy to leave for an AAV of $27-28MM for 3 or 4 years because he sure won't be re-upped by the Bloom Administration in 2025.

As easy as it is to suggest trading big names by the trade deadline to maximize the return, it's more likely the Sox are competitive in a playoff race and not looking to move productive players. That's why they'll be around for the QO. JD is the only one who might be handled differently.

I am not convinced this is what will happen because, as Niels Bohr is alleged to have said, "Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future." (I have seen that attributed to other speakers, too.) And we have the recent Pick 5 contest as further evidence of that. But I find the issuance of four QOs at the end of this season plausible.

Thanks for reading!

(Oh, and one gratuitous long-term prediction: By the last two months of 2024, Alex Binelas will be getting 60% of DH at-bats on the major league club.)