Update: Qualifying offers will be $13.3M this offseason


October 20th: Via Jon Heyman, qualifying offers will be worth $13.3M this offseason. We’ve already heard that Soriano will get one, and that Swisher is “extremely likely” to get one as well.

August 1st: Via Buster Olney, qualifying offers to free agents after the season will be in the $13.3-13.4M range. Previous estimates had them around $12.4M. Under the new collective bargaining agreement, a team must make a player a qualifying offer to received draft pick compensation. They effectively replaces arbitration.

The Yankees have a number of qualifying offer candidates due to become free agents after the season, specifically Nick Swisher and Hiroki Kuroda. Rafael Soriano could also receive one if he opts out of his contract considering that he’d be walking away from $14M next year anyway. The new draft pick compensation system is pretty wacky, so I recommend checking out this primer at MLBTR.

Categories : Asides


  1. RetroRob says:

    Do the Yankees actually have to make a qualifying offer to Soriano if he opts to walk away from $14M? Doesn’t that even trump a qualifying offer?

    Kuroda is tricky. The Yankees will want him back, but at less than $13.5M, so they can’t make him that offer.

    Swisher is a no-brainer. He’s not signing a one-year contract.

    • All Praise Be To Mo says:

      Why not, it’s a 1 year deal, who cares? We don’t need to be under $189 until 2014, a 1 year deal works out perfectly for everyone, if he accepts it great, if not we get a good year out of him this year and a pick when he leaves.

      • RetroRob says:

        Are you talking about Kuroda? I don’t have a problem with Kuroda returning. He’s currently making $10M. If they make him the qualfying offer, then negotiations begin with him at the minimum of $13.5M, or they’re basically saying right up front they’re going to give him a 35% pay increase. They might get him for less. That’s why he might be tricky.

        • All Praise Be To Mo says:

          Yea, but if you’re the Yanks, I’d be willing to make a $3.5 million bet to see if he’ll decline it, or have an under the table agreement that he will like we did with Javy. Tell him we’ll re-sign him for the same 1 yr/10 million or if he can find something better elsewhere, best of luck.

          • Gonzo says:

            Since when have the Yankees been the wagering kind when it comes to arb?

          • RetroRob says:

            The difference between Kuroda and Soriano is the Yankees will want Kuroda back. They don’t want Soriano back. (I’m making assumptions here on both sides, but I think reasonable ones.)

            Since they want Kuroda back, the prospect of of getting a prospect shouldn’t factor in their decision, which is why they probably shouldn’t make a qualfing offer to Kuroda. They should expect to get him back and at less than $13.5M. If they make the qualfying offer, they’ve already agreed to the price increase and to paying him more than they probably have planned.

            As we saw last year in the DH negotiaton, the differnce of a million or two can factor into the final touches on the roster. I don’t see Cashman freely giving up that flexbility just for a prospect.

            I think they will not present Kuroda or Soriano qualfying offers unless there are agreements up front from both players they will not accept. Yet I don’t think Boras plays games that way, so I doubt he will provide the Yankees with that knowledge. Kuroda is a different story.

            I mean, I can be wrong on all this stuff, but it does illustrate why who gets a qualfying offer may not be as clear as it seems.

            • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

              I’m not sure they can expect to get him back at less than 13.5M though. That might be relying on him to take a discount to stay with the Yankees (assuming he continues to pitch the way he has). It’s possible he would do that, considering he seems to limit which teams he would pitch for, but I don’t know that the Yankees can bank on that, especially with the Dodgers now seemingly more willing to spend money. I’d say his fair market value is definitely at least the amount of the qualifying offer, so it not impossible he’d seek more dollars elsewhere.

              • Cris Pengiucci says:

                I’m not sure what Kuroda’s value is on the open market, but after this season I can see it being somewhere around the qualifying offer ammount. I would exect the Yankees to negotiate with him to retain him and if nothing comes together quickly, make a qualifying offer.

                I don’t understand why the Yankees wouldn’t want Soriano back for one more year. We don’t know what to expect from Mo. We all anticipate he’ll continue to be great, but there are no guarantees, and there’s no budget pressure next year.

              • RetroRob says:

                I don’t disagree with that. It’s something Cashman and the Yankees have to add into the equation. What’s the market rate this offseason (it’s always more than we think). Kuroda pitching well for the Yankees in the AL and AL East should only serve to increase his value.

                To me, a quality starter who only wants a one-year deal should actually be able to charge a premium over those seeking multi-year deals. Andy Pettitte never quite took that approach because he never put himself out on the market, declaring it was the Yankees or the high way.

  2. RetroRob says:

    BTW The Soriano contract issue is interesting. He’s owed $14M, but has a $1.5M buyout that the Yankees will have to pay him if he leaves. So if they make him the qualifying offer of $13.5M, he can then turn right back around and accept it, in essense giving himself a $1M raise for 2013. ($13.5M + 1.5M buyout). So, yeah, Boras could trick the Yankees into giving him a raise under the false belief he might be leaving. I’m sure the Yankees know this, but it adds a bit more danger to making a qualfying offer to Soriano.

    • jjyank says:

      True, but isn’t Soriano getting to the point in his career where he’ll probably be going for the last multi-year contract of his career? He’ll be 33 next season. If he can snag somewhere beteen 25-40 mil for multiple years, I certainly would do that over one big year pay day. Especially when you factor in his injury history.

      • All Praise Be To Mo says:

        Plus he’d be coming back next year to set up Mo. He shouldn’t be able to get the gaudy save #’s that everyone pays big $$$ on the market. I’d let him know that and if he accepts he’s working the 7th inning next year. That should be enough to convince him to go somewhere else hopefully if he gets a decent offer.

        • Gonzo says:

          Boras accepted for K-Rod recently and it was for a setup job too.

          • All Praise Be To Mo says:

            Yea, but everyone knew K-Rod was done and garbage, Soriano looks great. Best case he leaves and we get a pick, worst case it’s the same contract he would have had anyway with a 500k pay cut.

            • Gonzo says:

              You mean a pay raise. $1.5mm opt out + the ~$13.3mm offer. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

              • All Praise Be To Mo says:

                Even if he does that, maybe we eat half the salary and market him as a 1 year $7 million deal to other teams in need of a closer?

                • Gonzo says:

                  So pay him $7mm to play for another team for what will probably be a marginal prospect or worse a non-prospect?

                  • All Praise Be To Mo says:

                    I’m sure we can get a good prospect from a team that needs a closer if we eat some salary. They would get him for a whole year, then be able to recoup a draft pick by offering him a qualifying offer after the year is over since he’d be with them a full year. Take the $6-$7 million we’d save and get a right fielder for a year or some interchangeable bullpen arms. It’s a sunk cost anyway, eat half and get something worthwhile.

            • RetroRob says:

              Well no, the Yankees will be paying roughly $1M more. The opt-out payment exists, so if he opts out, the Yankees make the qualfying offer, and then he accepts, he will cost them basically $15M to retain him as opposed to $14M. Plus, it will increase the luxury-tax calculation in his contract from $11.67M (3 yr $35M original contract) nearly another $2M, further increasing the Yankees cost on him. (There will be some offset by refunding the Yankees on overpaying luxury tax the first two years, but it still will calculate out to an increase in luxury tax.)

              I’m not saying this is a major issue, but it is something the Yankees will have to consider, unless they have an agreement up front that Soriano will not accept.

      • RetroRob says:

        I agree. That’s why I maintain there’s a good chance he will trigger the opt-out. I’m not sure he can get the higher end, but I can certainly see him nailing a three-year deal for some team at $27M. Maybe more, but let’s go with $27M. With the $1.5M in his pocket now added in, he basically has $30M guaranteed for leaving the Yankees and maintaining his closer status.

        Boras does like to take his guys to the very end of their deals to maximize the amount of money they can make, but I think he’ll correctly read the tea leaves on this one and trip the opt out.

        It’s still a tricky situation with the qualfying offer.

        • Gonzo says:

          The two “big name” closers that got paid last year were non-Boras guys.

          Boras’ two “big name” closers got a one year deal at less than the qualifying offer, and the other one accepted arb.

        • All Praise Be To Mo says:

          Yea, he can at least match Heath Bell’s deal. No way Soriano will have the type of stats if he comes back next year to work the 7th inning that he will after being the closer all year this year.

        • KeithK says:

          Anyone know what the dates are when Soriano would have to opt out and whether qualifying offers have a time limit? Under the old system a player had to accept arbitration by such and such date; if he didn’t accept his old team got the pick. If the qualifying offer is open ended (or the deadline is sufficiently far out) Soriano could (and probably would) opt out and test the market looking for a multi-year deal while keeping the Yankees offer in his back pocket in case he’s not getting good offers on the market.

          Can Soriano get a $25-30M guaranteed contract (3yrs) this off season? Good chance but I don’t know that it’s certain. If I were running the Yankees front office I’d hesitate to make the qualifying offer. (Assuming as we do that they don’t want him back at $15M per.)

          • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

            Qualifying offer has to be made during the Quiet Period (until 5 days after World Series). Offer has to be accepted or declined within 7 days of the end of the Quiet Period.

            I don’t know by what date Soriano has to decide on his opt out.

    • Ghost says:

      Theoretically yes, but since he’d be looking to cash in on a longer deal with guaranteed money and a closer’s job since Rivera will be returning I don’t see that happening.

    • Slugger27 says:

      that is really interesting.

    • Gonzo says:

      Expect Boras to use this as leverage. I bet the Yankees don’t offer.

  3. All Praise Be To Mo says:

    I’m all for offering it to Soriano and Swish, I’m cool with either of them on a 1 yr deal, though I think Swish gets more and Soriano will be looking for a multi-year deal if he opts out. 2 extra picks next year hopefully though.
    What about offering it to Russell Martin? I wouldn’t with the year he’s having, but if we can have an under the table agreement like we did with Javy that he won’t accept it?

    • Dandy The Yankee says:

      The only thing I’d offer Martin is a bus ticket out of town.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      It would be a big risk. What if Martin changes his mind and accepts the offer. The possibility of being stuck with Martin at around $13.5 is too much to risk. It’s not like they could enforce an under the table agreement.

      • All Praise Be To Mo says:

        Yea, they couldn’t enforce it, but it happens all the time. I’m sure the Yanks would remember if him and his agent go back on a handshake deal and it could affect him in the future as well as that agent’s other clients.

        • Gonzo says:

          Why would Martin, who is having a bad season, ever agree to turn down arbitration under the table?

          It would make him a much less attractive FA.

          • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

            Why would that make him a less attractive FA?

            • Gonzo says:

              If he declined arb it would cost any team signing him a high draft pick. That’s chunk of a team’s draft money.

              • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

                You’re right. Complete brain fart on my part. There is no chance in hell that Martin would agree to that.

            • 28 this year says:

              Just because the Yankees don’t get the other team’s pick doesn’t mean they don’t lose it. So the new “Type A” guys still cost the signing team a draft pick so that hasn’t changed. The only thing that changed is that now, they put a dollar value on whats “Type A” which is probably for the best, at least its a better system than the old system where crappy relievers were Type As.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

          I agree with that somewhat, but with the way Martin’s career is going, 13.5M might be worth the potential ramifications for him.

    • Cris Pengiucci says:

      Swish is a no brainer. As pointed out above, Soriano is a gamble (IF he opts out). If he accepts, he gets at ~$1M raise. If not, the Yankees get the compensation draft pick. Not sure I like that gamble, but it’s not the worst. Martin, like Swish, is a no brainer. No way I’d offer him a qualifying offer. He should have taken the 3 year deal offered to him before the season.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      As much as people like to malign Martin, dude is a league average starting C for yet another season… And his defense might be seriously undervalued based on the pitch framing study.

      If they want a stopgap to give Romine, Murphy, and Sanchez another year… Martin on the QO actually might make sense. Not a good value, but you’ve got a good shot at league average Cing. If Romine impresses, phase him in. If you find a better option, split time or eat money in trading Martin. In 2013 I don’t know how much an extra 8 mill on Martin kills them unless they feel confident they can get a good C.

      • RetroRob says:

        I don’t dislike Martin; he’s just frustrating. Expectations. Looking at his career, it’s hard to imagine how much he’s fallen with the bat.

        Yet I would welcome him back, especially if he wants to come back on a one-year deal. It will give the Yankees a chance to look at Romine, and get another year of Murphy closer to the Majors.

      • Bubba says:

        People malign Martin because he is NOT league average for a starting C. I understand and agree with your point that the Yankees did not really have any replacement options at the deadline and possibly in the offseason, but please stop putting lipstick on this pig and telling me it’s Kate Upton.

  4. 28 this year says:

    One question, does this offer have to stay on the table through the offseason or is it like arbitration where the player has to accept by a certain date? That makes a big difference because then players don’t have to gamble where teh market is.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting says:

      By a certain date:

      “A Qualified Free Agent may accept a Qualifying Offer until the
      seventh day following the conclusion of the Quiet Period”

  5. James says:

    So, not that they would, but if the yankees signed Zack Greinke this offseason they WOULD NOT lose a first rounder under the new rules??

    • Preston says:

      I’m pretty sure teams still lose the pick, teams losing the player don’t get the pick, they get a sandwich pick, our pick would just go away. I’m not 100% certain, but that was my understanding.

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