Now that the parade and celebration are over it is time to turn our attention to the hot stove season and the fun times of second-guessing every move the Giants make.
The Guy went over the big news yesterday that Aubrey Huff isn’t getting his option picked up (no surprise) and that the Giants do no plan on offering any of their free agents to be qualifying offers.
I wanted to take a deeper look at the decision to not offer any players qualifying offers.
The CBA states that in order for a player to qualify for draft pick compensation they must offer players that have been with the team the full season a one-year deal equal to the average salary of the top 125 paid players. This year that comes out to a bit more than $13 million. Not a bad chunk of change for a player and in my opinion much better than the old Type A and Type B system that baseball used for draft pick compensation.
Of the Giants’ free agents, only a couple really merited consideration for an offer: Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, and Jeremy Affeldt.
Earlier in the season it looked like Cabrera would be a slam dunk for an offer and then “the suspension” happened. Ever since then the Giants have done just about everything they can to avoid him. The other complication is trying to figure out how much value he’s worth without PEDs. I think that he is probably worth taking a risk on signing, but $13 million for a one-year deal is more than he will get on the open market. The risk of him accepting and then being overpaid is worth more than the possibility of a draft pick between the first and second round.
The story is much the same for Affeldt. He put up another great season for the Giants posting the lowest FIP of his career. He proved that giving him $5 million last season wasn’t stupid. That being said, offering him $13 million? THAT would be stupid. $13 million is probably more than he would get on a two-year deal; for a non-elite reliever (or even an elite reliever), it’s hard to justify an annual salary that high. Passing on a qualifying offer is not a bad idea.
On the other hand, in Pagan’s case it seems like making a qualifying offer would have been a prudent risk to take. Going back to 2009, he has been worth $13.2 million, $21.8 million, $3.9 million and $21.6 million according to Fangraphs WAR-to-dollar conversion. That’s an average of $15.1 million over that period.
Given that, it doesn’t seem like much of an overpay to consider him at 1 yr/$13.3M — essentially that is his full market value.
The other thing to consider is that he is probably looking for a long-term deal this off-season. With a weak market for free agent outfielders it’s a good bet that he will have multiple teams interested in him and will get offers in excess of one year that will guarantee more money than this. In addition this was a strong year for Pagan, so it isn’t likely that he would want a one-year deal to try to rebuild his value.
After considering these things it makes less sense to not offer Pagan a qualifying offer. A one-year deal works well for the Giants long term plans, it isn’t a massive overpay for his skills and he is likely to see multiple suitors, so it would be prudent to attempt to get compensation if he leaves.
This isn’t a dumb decision by any means but it does seem to be one that shows a very risk-averse front office. I would have loved to been privy to the thought process of what went into making it. It’s hard to argue with the front office that just won a World Series so I guess I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, for now.