Baseball's Q-Day Deadline's Passed; Free Agency Begins
Will a long-awaited precedent be set in the next week?
There's a better chance of it this off-season than ever before.
MLB teams have made qualifying offers to 20 players by the end of business today in New York. Based on the Top 125 players' average salary last season, the figure is $15.8million. It's a one-year deal.
However, this time around, there are at least four players who have some serious thinking to do:
- John Lackey, St Louis ... Dude's 37, so even after completing a decent season as a rotation workhorse, $15.8mil might look pretty good right now. Especially after a contract quirk had him earning the MLB minimum last season that was enhanced by incentive bonuses. As if he even notices anymore; the bank deposits are at $108,544,166 and counting.
- Ian Kennedy, San Diego ... Meet the poster boy for the Been There Done That approach to roster building. Dude may have been mediocre for the Padres, but he's also the devil they know. After earning $9.85mil last season, the Q would be a guaranteed raise as opposed to testing a market with the likes of David Price and Johnny Cueto in it.
- Colby Rasmus, Houston ... a first-round draft pick in 2005, his clubhouse presence had neutralized whatever he brought to a game until he became a 'Stro. With Houston's fertile farm system, dude's expendable, meaning this looks like GM Jeff Luhnow wants to double down on the draft pick he'd get from Rasmus' departure through free agency. He could well be counting on that possibility.
- Marco Estrada, Toronto ... Yes, 2015 was his best season to date. But yes, dude's 33. Was this year an outlier or did he finally get his act together? And who's gonna want to pay to find out? The Q will more than double his career earnings of just under $11mil. That's gotta be an enticing thought to a back-of-the-rotation slinger.
Now, with four players clearly on the market's edge, baseball may finally find out if the Q's other side is just as advantageous. And to whom.