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The Houston Astros extended a qualifying offer to free agent-to-be George Springer this Sunday. Their offer was worth $18.9 million.
Qualifying offer, defined by Major League Baseball: “Clubs wishing to receive compensatory Draft picks for the loss of a free agent can make a one-year “qualifying offer,” worth the mean salary of MLB’s 125 highest-paid players, to their impending free agents prior to the onset of free agency if and only if: 1. That player has never received a qualifying offer previously in his career.
2. That player spent the entire season on that team’s roster (in-season acquisitions are ineligible).”
What happens once a qualifying offer is extended to a player? “A player will have 10 days to accept or decline the qualifying offer, during which time he can negotiate with other teams to survey his market value. Should a player decide to accept the qualifying offer, he is signed for the following year at that predetermined rate (i.e., the mean salary of the league’s 125 highest-paid players). If a player rejects the qualifying offer, he is free to further explore the free-agent market.”
Does it affect another team if they sign a player who rejected a qualifying offer? Yes. That player has a monetary value (in Springer’s case: $18.9 million), and each draft pick in the MLB Draft is assigned a monetary value. So the team that signs Springer, should he reject the Astros offer, would forfeit the draft pick corresponding with Springer’s monetary value.
Explained by MLB: “Any team that signs a player who has rejected a qualifying offer is subject to the loss of one or more Draft picks. While a team’s highest first-round pick is exempt from forfeiture, any additional first-round picks are eligible. Three tiers of Draft pick forfeiture — which are based on the financial status of the signing team — are in place to serve as a penalty for signing a player who rejected a qualifying offer.”
So, why should the Braves sign Springer? And why for 4 years?
1. He’s a 3-time All-Star, World Series Champion, World Series MVP, & 2-Time Silver Slugger.
“But he’s a cheater!”. Yes, he was an Astro during the MASSIVE live video feed cheating scandal that played a major role in Houston winning the 2017 World Series. Do you know who else was on that team? Beloved former Braves Evan Gattis & Brian McCann.
2. He’s one of the few Astros players who’s Home/Road splits were not massively discrepant. Suggesting that he likely didn’t benefit from any trashcan-banging from the dugout, and probably didn’t need it even if the signal was executed while he was batting.
3. In 2020, he didn’t miss a beat at the plate while his Astros teammates all took huge nosedives in all major statistical batting categories; slashing .265/.359/.540 with 37 runs, 14 homeruns, & 32 RBIs. All in a shortened 60-game season. That’s a 162-game pace of: 99.9 runs, 37.8 homeruns, & 86.4 RBIs.
4. His contract should be 4 years in length, 5 maximum because the player the Braves could draft with the pick they’d lose for signing Springer (because he rejected the Astros qualifying offer) would need to be a future All-Star or the Braves would be losing in that deal. Future All-Stars don’t typically spend more than 4-5 years in the minor leagues before debuting in Major League Baseball. EVEN THEN, few are All-Star caliber upon their call to the Bigs.
5. He adds to the offense’s potency, DH or not. It has not yet been determined when the Designated Hitter will be implemented in the National League. Signing Marcell Ozuna would likely be a downgrade for Atlanta if the DH doesn’t start this upcoming season. Signing Springer negates any concern whether the DH starts this year, next year, or ever in the National League.
6. It’s an upgrade over Adam Duvall. I’m as big a fan of Adam Duvall as the next guy. But Springer is superior defensively, and a more complete hitter than Duvall. And hey, if the DH starts next season, Springer is your left fielder with Duvall DH’ing. It’s a win-win.
Adding Springer would elevate the Braves outfield to Springer in Left, Pache in Center, & Acuña in Right, with Duvall as DH. WOW.