Qualifying Offers went out on Friday. For the few unfamiliar with the concept, these are one-year deals you can make to free agents where if they reject you get a draft pick as compensation. The QO number is set fairly high. this year it is 15.8 million, and because of that we end up with a situation where almost no one offered accepts the deal. If you are good enough to be offered a QO, you are good enough to make more in free agency. You reject. If you aren't good enough to make more in FA, the team doesn't want to pay you 15.8 million. There are borderline cases though and they often deal with injury risk.
The Nats offered to Jordan Zimmermann. Easy call. He's been worth more than that for several years and on the open pitchers market will likely easily surpass that annual value. In fact he should make around 20 million a year not just for one season but for something like 6 years. You offer. He'll reject.
The Nats offered to Ian Desmond. Another fairly easy call. Ian had an poor year and wasn't worth 15.8 million this year but has been in the recent past and the SS FA market is not strong. So if you want to get someone of Ian's talent on the Nats next year through free agency it would cost at least 15.8 miilion. You offer. He may or may not beat that salary annually but he should be relatively close and get offered a multi-year deal. For him there's really no reason to accept this when there could be 4/52 out there, and that's a very pessimistic number. (What's optimistic? 6/102)
Doug Fister is another easy call, at least to me. He wasn't worth 15.8 million next year and frankly 2014 was a mirage. You only offer if you are sure he won't accept and I don't see how you could be. Fister is likely to only get offered two types of contracts. The first would be challenge deals, one-year deals that maybe have team option years and incentives, that are a little under market. The team is gambling that it might get a steal for a year on the player. The player gambles they might be able to turn it around and get a long term deal later. For Fister I don't see a better challenge deal out there than re-upping with the Nats for nearly 16 million. It'll be more money for likely a more talented team, then he could get on the FA market. The other type would be a way under value short mutli-year deal. 3/27, 2/22 something where the team is accepting risk on what could be useless years beyond the first and funneling into a lower annual salary. If you can make 16 this year though and think you can turn it into a long term deal why accept a deal like that? You don't. So if I'm Fister I'm taking the QO if the Nats offer and nobody here wants that. You don't offer.
Denard Span is the injury risk tough call. When healthy, even this year, he's been very good. It's easy to see that if he plays a full year he'd be worth the money. However he has dealt with at least three separate injuries in the past year and has a concussion history to boot. It's more than fair to downgrade his value based on these risks. However even if the Nats don't want to pay Span 15.8 million for next year, they do have to think about the other side. Would Span accept that deal? Unlike Fister, who was awful last year and had most stats guys expecting that crash if not sooner than later, Span was great. He hit like he did in 2014 when he was pushed as a MVP-vote worthy player. Even with the injuries it is very likely he has a multi-year deal out there waiting for him. It won't likely be the "maybe last one of my career" one that he probably was hoping for but 3/4 years at 10-15 million? That's possible. Do you take say 4 million more in the hopes of turning it all around? I don't. I go for it. So if I were the Nats I'd have offered Span a QO. It's likely he rejects and if he accepts, for one year the risk is worth it.
What does it say that the Nats didn't offer the deal to Span? Well my guess would be they have an idea of the budget for the team without Span and don't want him to accept and mess that up and/or they feel his health is too big a risk to take a gamble on. On the latter they surely know more than me (or you). On the former that could be good or bad. It does sound cheap yes, and that's how I'd lean in thinking about it, but it could also mean they know exactly where they want to spend their money. It's a little presumptuous that they could hit all their marks and a little sad they don't have flexiblity to absorb Span if he accepts (not that 10 million isn't alot but it'd be nice if the Nats could gamble with what hoepfully amounts to less than 7 percent of their payroll) but it's not that problematic.
I was only going to be worried if they didn't offer any QOs. That would mean they couldn't even deal with ZNN, who is totally worth the money, accepting. That's very worrisome. But it didn't happen. The Nats did pretty much what they should have so let's move on.