The deadline for clubs to make qualifying offers to their free agents was today at 5 PM, and there were 13 players who were given the $14.1 million qualifying offer.
Those players are Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli, and Stephen Drew of the Red Sox, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, and Hiroki Kuroda of the Yankees, Carlos Beltran of the Cardinals, Shin-Soo Choo of the Reds, Nelson Cruz of the Rangers, Ubaldo Jimenez of the Indians, Brian McCann of the Braves, Kendrys Morales of the Mariners, and Ervin Santana of the Royals.
The above players have until 5 PM on November 11th to either accept or reject the qualifying offer. If they accept the offer, they return to the team who made the offer on a one year deal worth $14.1 million.
If they reject the offer, they hit the open market. If the player then signs elsewhere, the team he left receives a compensatory draft pick.
Nine players received qualifying offers last off-season, and each one rejected the offer.
By finishing with one of the 10 worst records in baseball, the Mets have a protected first round pick (10th overall). However, the Mets will have to part with their second round pick in the event they sign a player who rejects a qualifying offer. If they sign two or more players who were made qualifying offers, they’ll be forced to surrender more draft picks.
Of the 13 players who were made qualifying offers, there are likely five who will be of interest to the Mets. Those players are Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew, Curtis Granderson, Carlos Beltran, and Shin-Soo Choo.
Although they’d both be solid fits, there have been reports that Ellsbury and Beltran will most likely not be heading to Queens for 2014 and beyond. Ellsbury’s injury history may be scaring the Mets off, and the Beltran reunion that some fans (including me) are hoping for may not be in the cards.
I don’t think Beltran would refuse to come back to the Mets because of some assumed bad blood. Rather, I think it would be Beltran wanting to join an immediate contender and/or preferring to sign with an American League club so he could serve as a designated hitter on occasion.
That likely leaves the Mets with three legitimate options from the pool of players who were made qualifying offers – Stephen Drew, Curtis Granderson, and Shin-Soo Choo.
To repeat – I don’t believe forfeiting a second or third round pick (or both) would prevent the Mets from signing a player if they valued that player and thought he would improve the club. However, that doesn’t mean it’s smart to forfeit draft picks if you don’t have to.
Perhaps the Mets sign Choo and Drew and forfeit two of their top three picks. Maybe they’ll sign Choo or Granderson and elect to sign Jhonny Peralta (who was not given a qualifying offer) instead of Drew. It’s also possible the Mets will fill their outfield or shortstop void (or both) via the trade market.
For both the Mets’ sake and the sake of the fans, though, it’s great that the Mets’ first round pick was protected. If it wasn’t, there would be much more hand wringing going on regarding the qualifying offers and how they would impact the Mets.