Skip to content

How qualifying offers sabotaged free agency

Dec 24, 2012, 11:20 AM EDT

Michael Bourn AP

Buster Olney has a good post up today about how qualifying offers to free agents — which were designed to compensate teams who lose free agents — are far more effective at harming the market of certain free agents by scaring away teams from signing them. Because not only do they lose a draft pick if they do, they lose money from the amateur signing salary caps too.

The fun part: Scott Boras clients Rafael Soriano, Kyle Lohse and Michael Bourn are being hurt the most by this and, wouldn’t you know it, Boras is exploring a loophole to the draft pick quandary:

Let’s say Seattle was interested in signing Bourn, but without giving up a top draft pick. With Boras working in concert with the Mariners and Indians, Cleveland could be the team that technically signs Bourn — with a prearranged trade to Seattle, who would give the Indians something in return.

In this way, Seattle would get Bourn while keeping the top of its draft intact, and Cleveland would get something in return for giving up its lower draft pick.

Maybe this works, maybe it doesn’t, but it’s hard to shed tears for the free agents. The union gladly threw the amateurs and international signees under the bus by agreeing to a severe spending cap in the draft and in the international free agent market. By limiting how much teams can spend there, they inspired teams to do everything in their power to protect what little they can in that arena. Including, we are seeing, avoiding spending on players who are attached by qualifying offers.

In other news: teams that don’t put qualifying offers on players are pretty silly.

Latest Posts
  1. Grant Balfour is leaning toward retirement

    May 28, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Grant Balfour Getty Images

    He just opted out of his deal with Tampa Bay.

  2. Alex Rodriguez is the all-time AL RBI champion. Sorta.

    May 28, 2015, 10:00 AM EDT

    New York Yankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez pumps his fist as he runs the bases after breaking Willie Mays' record on the all-time home run list after hitting his 661st home run in the third inning of a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, May 7, 2015.  (AP Photo/Kathy Willens) AP

    Where is the asterisk-applying crowd when you need ’em?

  3. The Brewers Double-A team’s 55-game road trip is actually going quite well

    May 28, 2015, 9:19 AM EDT

    Old Bus

    In other news, Taco Bell restaurants in Southern League towns are experiencing record sales.

  4. Johnny Cueto expected to return to Reds’ rotation Sunday

    May 27, 2015, 11:27 PM EDT

    cueto getty Getty Images

    Reds ace Johnny Cueto was scratched from a start last week after experiencing stiffness in his right elbow, but an MRI taken Tuesday afternoon came up clean …

  5. Video: Bryce Harper slugs his 18th home run

    May 27, 2015, 10:14 PM EDT

    bryce harper getty Getty Images

    Harper has slugged 13 home runs over his last 19 games.

  6. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak: Matt Adams out 3-4 months, possibly the year, with torn quad

    May 27, 2015, 9:01 PM EDT

    matt adams getty Getty Images

    Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams tore his right quadriceps muscle Tuesday while legging out a double.

  7. Dodgers designate Sergio Santos for assignment

    May 27, 2015, 8:23 PM EDT

    sergio santos getty Getty Images

    Santos had registered an underwhelming 4.73 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and 15/7 K/BB ratio in 13 1/3 innings of relief this season for the Dodgers.

  8. Video: Jimmy Paredes stole home

    May 27, 2015, 7:18 PM EDT

    jimmy paredes getty Getty Images

    Just call him Jimmy “The Jet” Paredes.

  9. Red Sox acquire outfielder Carlos Peguero from Rangers

    May 27, 2015, 6:25 PM EDT

    peguero getty Getty Images

    Peguero was designated for assignment by the Rangers on May 20 after batting .186/.310/.414 with four home runs and nine RBI in 84 plate appearances.

  10. Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams out indefinitely with torn quadriceps, may need surgery

    May 27, 2015, 5:19 PM EDT

    matt adams cardinals getty Getty Images

    Adams was off to a slow start this season, but he’s hit .277 with a .770 OPS in 320 games for the Cardinals since debuting in 2012.

  11. Al Kaline’s last game

    May 27, 2015, 5:09 PM EDT

    Portrait of Al Kaline

    Everything ends badly. Otherwise it wouldn’t end.

  12. Scott Kazmir leaves the Tigers-Athletics game with an apparent injury

    May 27, 2015, 4:34 PM EDT

    Scott Kazmir AP

    A bad season for the A’s is starting to look worse.

  13. Felix Hernandez and Chris Archer dueled. Chris Archer, by one measure, pitched better. Felix Hernandez won.

    May 27, 2015, 3:36 PM EDT

    Felix Hernandez Getty Images

    Game scores are interesting things. Wins — the team kind, anyway — are far more satisfying.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (3354)
  2. J. Lucroy (3193)
  3. D. Wright (3005)
  4. Y. Puig (2960)
  5. R. Castillo (2757)
  1. D. Travis (2664)
  2. J. Cueto (2549)
  3. A. Garcia (2544)
  4. A. Pujols (2542)
  5. B. Harper (2425)