Nationals Baseball: Monday Quickie - Qualifying

Monday, November 09, 2015

Monday Quickie - Qualifying

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.

13 comments:

ProphetNAT said...

We all have our opinions of what the Nats should do with the money left over. That's been discussed. But with Span not receiving a QO, do you think Rizzo sees Taylor as the Opening Day CFer? Or do you think they go out and get a Parra or a CarGo? Not what you want to happen, but trying to predict what the Nats move is...

Miles Treacy said...

What are your thoughts on the potential re-signing of Desmond if his market value is really set as low as 4/52? The 6/102 seems high but teams do love power hitting short-stops. If that's seriously what he'd go for I'd like to see the Nats really make a push for him. It's a bit more of a win now approach but getting him locked up in a deal like that with the hopes the first half was just a fluke and the 2nd half was more of what we'd get, that seems like a steal to me. If that contract goes, using Turner then as a trade piece becomes feasible to try and package for a Kimbrel or Chapman. Again, super win now approach since we all seem to see Turner as needing one more year to really get his bearings right.

Miles Treacy said...

Also, per Ken Rosenthal, saw Desmond is willing to move positions for the "right team". Pretty interesting if true.

Donald said...

How much does the QO depress a player's market? Without a QO, Span could possibly get 3 years for ~$40m. He would certainly take that over the one year QO. But if the Nats had made the QO, would someone still pay that? Presumably, adding a draft pick to the cost of signing him would lower that somewhat, or would at least remove some teams from the bidding. If you are Span, if you turn down a QO you run the risk of not being signed, or having to accept a much worse deal (see: Drew,Stephen), so I don't think it's a slam-dunk that he'd turn it down.

Also, I wonder to what extent teams don't extend offers as a sign of goodwill, either to the player or their agent, since doing so certainly hurts the player's bottom line.

Donald said...

@Miles -- for what it's worth, MLB Rumors has Desmond ranked 10th among free agents and predict 5/$80m. That's probably a decent guess.

Nats Fan in Brazil said...

What about Nats signing Heyward? That is a move that i REALLY would like to see.

blovy8 said...

There are enough teams with SS needs, Desmond should get that. You hear rumors about the Mets, but that's probably too expensive for them, and Flores might cry.

I agree that not offering Span was a mistake. It shouldn't surprise me because they threw away a possible pick with Edwin Jackson before so I know they're ultra-conservative, but it does eliminate one significant injury risk that would have been on the roster. The worry that it creates is Dusty leading off Taylor with his .280 obp because he's a speedy center fielder and that's where they should bat nevermind striking out 30 percent of the time.

Jay said...

I agree with Heyward. Move Harper to CF. Can Heyward play LF? Werth is not good in RF but horrible in LF. Also, I agree on Desmond. If the going rate is 4/65 then I'd try to keep him. Then I would move Turner to 2b (where some people predict he'll end up anyway secondary to his arm strength). I'd then move Yuni and Espinosa. I think they have to move Harper to CF and go get an OF. Bullpen is obviously biggest need. I think the concern for QO for Span is that he would take it and hope to re-establish his value. Of course, no player has ever taken a QO.

Bote Man said...

What I rarely see discussed in these matters is insurance against player injury or other failure to perform up to the contract. Surely that figures into a team's decision-making on player contracts and, by extension, Qualifying Offers?

DezoPenguin said...

The Heyward talk here makes me wonder if the reason they didn't QO Span is that they intend to go all-in on a corner OF (Heyward, Cespedes, or Upton) and just have no place to put him thanks to Werth clogging things up. Taylor I can see being a 4th OF due to his youth, but I can't see either Werth or Span being asked to take that position.

Of course, since Span himself is a good player when healthy (plus we have no idea if Bryce can handle himself with competence in CF over the long term), I have to think the injuries are a big red flag, or else there wouldn't need to be Plan Heyward--or they'd QO him and be happy if he accepted.

JE34 said...

I hope Dezo is right. A reliable lefty / righty / lefty section of the lineup would be a nice change (which makes Heyward a good option).

Desmond drove me crazy as a fan b/c he's clearly got a ton of talent... I can't see sinking 4-6 more years into all those bad plate habits and error filled spring months. Any team that knew him would set up low and away and watch him flail at sliders out of the zone. I'd only sign him if I could hire Jeter as his personal full time coach.

Froggy said...

I wonder if Dusty Baker could fix Desmond's yips and batting woes if he stuck around

Robot said...

I'm hoping Desi accepts, in part out of sentimentality toward one of "our" guys,and in part because i don't think Trea Turner is quite ready yet.

I expect he walks, though. Despite his rough season, he has a history as a strong player, and there are plenty of teams in need of a solid-hitting SS who would take a chance on 2015 being a fluke