Sunday baseball notes | Boston Globe
The 2017 post-season will come to an end this week, and with it the offseason festivities will begin. Among the Rockies’ decisions is what to do with Carlos González. It seems almost self-evident that the Rockies won’t offer CarGo a $17.4 million qualifying offer. But Nick Cafardo writes that “the Rockies “are trying to decide on whether to make him a qualifying offer.” So, according to this, the Rockies are on the fence.
It’s worthwhile to draw a comparison to the last time the Rockies made a qualifying offer to an impending outfield free agent. It also seemed self-evident that the Rockies wouldn’t offer Michael Cuddyer a QO after the 2014 season. But they did, and he turned it down.
While useful, the Cuddyer/CarGo comparison isn’t perfectly analogous. First, while González is four years younger than Cuddyer was when he got his offer, Cuddyer had a much better season before he hit free agency. Despite his late season turnaround, CarGo still had his worst season as a professional. Second, the Rockies outfield is more crowded now than it was then. The year after Cuddyer turned the Rockies down, Brandon Barnes played in 106 games for the Rockies (Drew Stubbs, Ben Paulsen, and Matt McBride also took a chunk of outfield reps). Looking to 2018, the Rockies have to be wondering how they’ll find playing time for David Dahl and Raimel Tapia. There doesn’t appear to be room for González.
The difference that makes it possible the Rockies will make an offer is that the qualifying offer structure is different. Before, any team that signed a player with a QO attached forfeited their first round pick if it was the 11th overall choice or below, or their second overall selection if they their first round pick was top-ten protected. Now, what the team gives up depends on the market size of the team signing the player, where their payroll is in regards to the luxury tax, and how big the new contract is. In the end, the team gives up a lower round selection and possibly some international free agent money. Most importantly, it no longer costs a team a first round pick.
That’s relevant for CarGo because it means a team is probably more likely to sign him with a QO attached because they won’t have to give up as much as the Mets did when they saved the Rockies and signed Cuddyer. But CarGo accepts the offer, the Rockies would have an even more crowded outfield depth chart, with young players who need to cut their teeth in the majors stuck behind.
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