Thursday, March 8, 2012

Options For Players Deserving Qualifying Offers (OF & DH)


Continuing on from where we left off last week, let's look at some outfielders and a designated hitter who may deserve qualifying offers (Q.O.) from their respective teams once this season ends. A reminder that a Q.O. is predicted in the $12.5m range for this upcoming offseason. Next week we'll take a look at pitchers about to hit free agency.

Outfielders
  • Michael Bourn - Bourn is a Boras client. Enough said. He's going to get a big deal on the open market, and he's going to get from the Braves a Q.O. that is not accepted. However, I predict both sides realize during next offseason they need each other, and he'll re-sign there for something like 6 yrs/$53m.
  • Andre Ethier - Something tells me that this is the last season we see Ethier in Dodger blue. The team's had a lot of time to lock him up to an extension and has failed to do so. If the team finds itself underproducing this season then I could even envisioning them dealing him at the deadline. We'll take a positive approach though and predict he finishes the season with them. In that case I see a Q.O. that is not accepted, and also see Ethier signing with another team (Yankees?) by the end of the year.
  • Josh Hamilton - From off-the-field incidents to spring training quotes that strike fear into the hearts of Rangers fans, I am beginning to wonder if an extension happens between these two sides. Texas has invested a lot in Hamilton, so I don't see them letting him go for nothing. And I doubt Hamilton's agents will aim for any contract short of nine figures. That's why I see this season as Hamilton's last in Arlington, and a Q.O. that is not accepted coming at the end of it.
  • Carlos Quentin - The Padres outfielder is currently making $7m this year, and if the team's lucky, he'll earn it. A raise to a salary over $12m, however, would most likely seem unpalatable to the mid-market team, no matter Quentin's 2012 performance. That's why, in my opinion, no Q.O. is extended in the offseason. If GM Josh Byrnes is able to re-sign his former D-back, then great, but it'll be hard to predict anything until this season's over.
  • Nick Swisher - This is an interesting situation. If Swisher can reproduce something close to his 2011 season, he'll have the benefit of age and consistency on his side as he enters the market looking for a new deal. It's already been rumored he'll be Atlanta's top target when that time comes, but it remains to be seem if he'll be a top target for the Yankees as well. In their "payroll-slashing" new ways, they may look for a new, less expensive solution in RF. (Or a different, expensive one like Andre Ethier.) Trying to retain Swisher for an extra year via a Q.O. may be the a positive route, since after an additional season with his services would give time for Mason Williams or perhaps Jorge Soler to be ready to take over in 2014. Though that sounds ideal, I doubt Swisher would accept it, which is why I presume we'll see a Q.O. that is not accepted when this season ends, and Swisher out of pinstripes when the 2013 season begins.
  • B.J. Upton - At last we find a club that I'm quite confident will not extend a Q.O. to a free agent! The Rays just aren't run that way. Since the Rays will most likely contend at least through July this year, I hesitate predicting that they'll trade Upton, though I wouldn't rule that out. It's at least 50/50 they keep him through the end of the year, but I just can't imagine them risking a $12m+ salary on their books in 2013 by offering a Q.O. to him. That's why I figure no Q.O. is extended after this season.
  • Shane Victorino - The Phillies have the payroll ability to stomach Victorino making $12m+ next season via an accepted Q.O. next season. I don't think that decision will ever arise, since their a team who's shown the willingness and ability to lock up their assets prior to free agency. It's likely we'll see a Victorino extension for 5 yrs/$50m.
Designated Hitter
  • David Ortiz - Ortiz made $12.5m in 2011 and will get a raise to over $14.5m this year. If he replicates this past season, I can see he and his club continuing their relationship with another one year deal. I think Boston would like to avoid another arbitration hearing and possible raise next time around, so the Q.O. might be more palatable for them. It also seems like the best deal Ortiz could find on the market, no matter the numbers he puts up in 2012, so I bet it's a good chance we'll see a Q.O. that is accepted.
See More: Options for Catchers and Infielders

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