Not that this necessarily impacts the Jays directly– they don’t have any qualifying offers out to players, and they certainly haven’t been interested in signing guys who’d cost a compensatory draft pick in years past– but it’s worth noting that, as the 5 PM ET deadline for players to accept or reject qualifying offers that were made by their clubs last week looms, it looks like all of the players will decline and become free agents.
Yeah, there’s some money floating around the game, it turns out. Not that there was ever any doubt of that, but… look at a Nelson Cruz, for example, who this morning formally turned down the Rangers’ qualifying offer.
Cruz will turn 34 in the middle of next season, and while he’s certainly an impressive hitter, he hasn’t been the nearly 5-win guy that he was in 2010 for three seasons now– especially not defensively– and he’s got the PED issue hanging over his head as well. Last year Melky Cabrera, who hit free agency five years younger, came with a similar PED story, and while maybe not the same lengthy track record of success or power, he’d had two very comparable seasons at the plate (150 and 118 wRC+) to what Cruz has done recently (122, 106, 116 in his last three). Cabrera, of course, didn’t have a draft pick tied to him– the Giants didn’t make him a qualifying offer– and yet “only” ended up signing for two years and $16-million.
Maybe this is an indication of just how scary much money it’s believed will be out there this time around, but it could also be a misstep from Cruz and his people– and one that other free agents may also be making, which plays to the Jays’ advantage. In theory, at least.