Friday, October 26, 2012

Qualifying Offers & Draft Picks

I have a feeling Bud Selig is just as confused as this guy.

Pretty soon we're all going to start hearing a lot about "qualifying offers", and how they will affect a team's draft picks. Chad Jennings did a good job of telling people about that stuff, but since you'd probably just like me to tell you instead, here you go...

First of all, there are no such things as Type A or Type B free agents anymore. There are players that have been given a qualifying offer, and there are players that haven't. It doesn't matter how good or how bad a player is, any possible free agent can be given a qualifying offer. I'm sure the people at Elias are upset, as free agent season used to give them all sorts of press since they were the ones that determined the Type A or B free agents.

In order to be eligible for a "qualifying offer" a player must have spent the entire previous season with the same team. If a player was traded mid-season, or picked up off of waivers mid-season, then they will just be another free agent. That means guys like Ichiro Suzuki, who the Yankees acquired via trade during the season, are ineligible.

So what is a "qualifying offer"? Well, a "qualifying offer" is basically a contract offer from a player's former team, that's good for one year. The amount of the "qualifying offer" is determined by the average salary of the top 125 paid players in the previous season, so it's likely to change from year to year. This year that number is $13.3 million.

If a team makes a qualifying offer to a player, that player has until 5 days after the World Series to either accept it or reject it. If the player accepts the qualifying offer, then he has basically signed a contract for 1 year and at least $13.3 million (teams are allowed to offer more than $13.3 million). If the player rejects the offer, then he will be a free agent.

By rejecting a qualifying offer, that player allows his former team to gain a draft pick, assuming the player signs a deal with another team. So if the Yankees make a qualifying offer to Nick Swisher, Nick rejects the offer, and he goes on to sign a contract with another team, then the Yankees will receive an extra draft pick, which will occur between the 1st and 2nd rounds.

If a team signs a free agent that rejected a qualifying offer from another team, that team loses it's 1st round draft pick. Except if that 1st round pick were to occur within the first 10 picks, which are protected, and in that case signing the player will cost the signing team it's 2nd round pick. By the way, those lost picks don't go anywhere, they are just that... lost. The following picks will simply move up a spot.

Other than Nick Swisher, the only other player the Yankees are likely to give a qualifying offer to is Rafael Soriano (assuming he opts out of his current contract with the Yanks). Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera are eligible, but unlikely to sign with another team, so there's really no point in making them that offer. Raul Ibanez, Freddy Garcia, Russell Martin, and a few "lesser" players aren't worth $13.3 million, so they'll likely not receive qualifying offers. And while Hiroki Kuroda was key in 2012 for the Bombers, I don't see him getting an offer of $13.3 million, seeing as how he signed for $10 million this past season.

My guess is that the Yankees will give Swisher a qualifying offer, and he'll reject it in order to sign a multi-year deal with another team. I also think Soriano will opt-out in order to look for a multi-year deal, and he too will reject a qualifying offer made by the Yankees. Thus giving the team two more draft picks. Putting smiles on the faces of prospect huggers like my cohort Mr. Burch.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)