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No one wants to be next year's Kendrys Morales (or Drew)

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#1 PseudoSABR

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 01:36 PM

Dave Cameron (of fangraphs fame) explores just how poorly Morales and Drew have played and further its possible ramifications on free agency.

We all know how bad Morales has been, but Cameron really rubs it in:

[COLOR=#373737][FONT=Lucida grande]Things haven't gone much better for the other free agent who waited until midseason to sign; despite collecting three hits last night, [/FONT][/COLOR]Kendrys Morales[COLOR=#373737][FONT=Lucida grande] is hitting just .238/.270/.333 since joining the [/FONT][/COLOR]Twins[COLOR=#373737][FONT=Lucida grande], and unlike Drew, he doesn't have any defensive value to fall back on. As strictly a designated hitter, Morales' entire value is tied up in how well he hits, and in 89 plate appearances in Minnesota, his .262 wOBA is lower than the career mark set by defensive specialists like [/FONT][/COLOR]Darwin Barney[COLOR=#373737][FONT=Lucida grande] or [/FONT][/COLOR]Brendan Ryan[COLOR=#373737][FONT=Lucida grande].[/FONT][/COLOR]

Yeah, that lack of defensive flexibility really hurts; especially now, given the Mauer injury.

But what I find interesting is Cameron's point about the impending market next winter, a winter the Twins should have money to spend.

[COLOR=#373737][FONT=Lucida grande]If a team makes a marginal free agent a qualifying offer this winter, $15 million and a guaranteed job might look a lot more enticing than being next year's Stephen Drew or Kendrys Morales.[/FONT][/COLOR]


Indeed, we might see fewer top-tier free agents next year as a result of what happened to Drew, Morales, and Cruz (though the latter stands do much better than the formers next year, even if he took short term losses). It's too bad for the Twins, who will have money to spend. The players who will decline arbitration are likely players out of the Twins price range, and the remaining free agents for one reason or another weren't even offered arbitration. (Conversely, I think it could make for a sellers market during the trade deadline). In any case, the Twins might have positioned themselves to resign on Morales on the cheap if he can't turn it around.

Edited by PseudoSABR, 06 July 2014 - 01:42 AM.


#2 SpiritofVodkaDave

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 01:48 PM

I think teams are going to be much more wary about offering 1/15 mil deals to guys that they would prefer would "turn it down"

I think it balances out in the end.
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"- L. Harvey Oswald

:whacky028::whacky028: :whacky028::whacky028:

#3 amjgt

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 01:48 PM

This logic (that more players will accept a QO) could just as easily have the effect of teams not making as many QO to players.

Before, with so many of them turning them down, teams viewed it as an opportunity to pick up a draft pick for someone that might not have been in their future plans anyway.

Having less mid-tier FA tied to draft pick compensation could actually benefit the Twins, who have been reluctant (never) to give up a draft pick to sign a FA.

#4 Brandon

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 02:46 PM

I think teams are going to be much more wary about offering 1/15 mil deals to guys that they would prefer would "turn it down"

I think it balances out in the end.


On the flip side there is no such thing as a bad one year contract either. I think solid players the team wants to keep but doesn't want a long term commitment on will get offered the QO so they will have to think long and hard about accepting it. The top FA won't have to worry cause someone will sign them. Its the next tier down. And in their cases it will depend on if the club wouldn't mind either a one year contract or draft pick.

As far as the player is concerned it could get frustrating not being able to get a long term contract but you are probably making more year by year if you keep accepting the QO offer. This is a fun topic for the offseason.

#5 Kwak

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 02:58 PM

How many people think that the Twins will be offering anybody a QO this offseason? I sure don't think so!

#6 Highabove

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 08:42 PM

Morales has had a whopping 84 at bats. Shouldn't we wait a little longer before a judgement is made on Morales?

#7 The Wise One

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 09:39 PM

Othr than lester, Shields and Scherzer, is there anyone without an option worth 15m/yr that is going to be a free agent?

#8 DocBauer

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 09:44 PM

Morales has had a whopping 84 at bats. Shouldn't we wait a little longer before a judgement is made on Morales?


Yep.

Personally, if he enjoys his time with the Twins this season, I'd make signing Morales a high priority. I know not everyone agrees with this approach, but not every top prospect in the Twins system is going to be ready for a full time gig at the start of 2015. And we already have to sort out CF, at least in the short term, and probably LF as well. Forget that Morales has struggled so far. Not only is the sample size small, but he virtually came off the street and was plugged in the lineup. His career track history is of a solid hitter with legit power and RBI production. And he's not some mid-30 year old trying to hang on either.

Work with me here. Dozier hits in one of the top spots next year. The other spot could be Santana, or Escobar, or a decent, solid, fill-in ML CF option that they MUST sign for temp/and or 4th OF work, with Rosario being a possible option if he has a strong second half of the year this year. (That 50 game suspension continues to hurt and haunt) Mauer has finally been rescued from the body snatchers that held him the first months of this season to hit like he should be, before his recent injury. UGH! But the real Mauer hits 3rd in 2015. And let's say it begins to really click for Arcia, which it could just any day now, truth be told.

Then what?

Look, I want Vargas to be our full time DH and backup 1B yesterday, just like everyone else. And I don't care that he's struggled the last week or so. There are always ebbs and flows to a season. But he's young, in AA, and even if promoted to Rochester for most of the second half of the season, and even if he rakes, are we comfortable he's ready for 500 ML AB's just like that?

And what about LF? Unless it's a cheap 1-year deal, Willingham is gone. So who plays LF and provides offense from that spot? Parmelee has been teasing us this year that the lightbulb might slowly coming on, a dimmer switch that someone keeps messing with. But at least we're seeing something. Rosario? Maybe. But he could also be in the running for a CF option. And for now, he's still in AA, behind due to his suspension, and even with a quick promotion to Rochester, and a couple really good months and outstanding ability, like Vargas, we're talking about a very young player with little AAA experience that we'd be counting on.

The Twins have the finances to sign that decent CF option to help out. And with guys like Willingham and Correia gone, they also have the finances to sign a quality corner OF to fill a spot in the middle of the lineup. With financial flexibility, and future trade possibilities, the Twins can afford to bring back Morales, sign that decent CF option, AND a vet corner OF without blocking the future for Buxton, Rosario, Vargas and Walker a bit further down the line.

This would give them a mix of veterans and youngsters to build a solid lineup to go along with a solid pitching staff, further fortified with a large group of young pitchers nearly ready to supplement and contribute, and still allow the young kids mentioned, and Sano, to work themselves one by one in to the lineup in 2015, and early 2016 at worse.

#9 Otwins

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 10:01 PM

Morales missed spring training. Hard to jump in at mid season

#10 stringer bell

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 10:48 PM

This month will tell the tale for Morales. He's got a history of being a fine hitter and run producer. If he shows those skills again, he'll likely make out all right in the free agency next year, although the market for bat-only mid-30s guys isn't that great.

I agree with Doc. If Morales shows he still has it, and is willing to stay, I say sign him up. The Twins have shown for the last several years that offensive holes develop and having a sure thing in the middle would stabilize the lineup long term.

#11 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 02 July 2014 - 11:35 PM

I think guys like Morales, Drew, Oswalt, have honestly lost touch with reality and their good fortune for being pro baseball players when they start turning down reasonable contract offers (reasonable, like, you know, multimillions of $$$ for a single summer) and then go into a season without a contract.

Speaking of Morales, he never really excited me. I'd trade him or let him walk. Give the at bats to young guys next year. So what if his numbers are down this year because he missed spring training or doesn't have many at bats yet. That's his fault alone, per article. :)

#12 The Wise One

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 02:49 AM

Yep.

And what about LF? Unless it's a cheap 1-year deal, Willingham is gone. So who plays LF and provides offense from that spot? Parmelee has been teasing us this year that the lightbulb might slowly coming on, a dimmer switch that someone keeps messing with. But at least we're seeing something. Rosario? Maybe. But he could also be in the running for a CF option. And for now, he's still in AA, behind due to his suspension, and even with a quick promotion to Rochester, and a couple really good months and outstanding ability, like Vargas, we're talking about a very young player with little AAA experience that we'd be counting on.

The Twins have the finances to sign that decent CF option to help out. And with guys like Willingham and Correia gone, they also have the finances to sign a quality corner OF to fill a spot in the middle of the lineup. With financial flexibility, and future trade possibilities, the Twins can afford to bring back Morales, sign that decent CF option, AND a vet corner OF without blocking the future for Buxton, Rosario, Vargas and Walker a bit further down the line.

This would give them a mix of veterans and youngsters to build a solid lineup to go along with a solid pitching staff, further fortified with a large group of young pitchers nearly ready to supplement and contribute, and still allow the young kids mentioned, and Sano, to work themselves one by one in to the lineup in 2015, and early 2016 at worse.


[FONT=georgia]Norichika Aoki [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Emilio Bonifacio [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Melky Cabrera[/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Nelson Cruz[/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Michael Cuddyer [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Rajai Davis[/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Chris Denorfia[/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Jeff Francoeur [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Jonny Gomes [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Franklin Gutierrez[/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Tony Gwynn Jr.[/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Scott Hairston [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Torii Hunter [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Raul Ibanez[/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Reed Johnson [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Darnell McDonald [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Mike Morse[/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Colby Rasmus [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Nate Schierholtz[/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Grady Sizemore[/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Seth Smith [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Alfonso Soriano[/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Ichiro Suzuki [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Ryan Sweeney [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Vernon Wells [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Josh Willingham [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Chris Young [/FONT]
[FONT=georgia]Delmon Young

That is the list of FA outfielders coming up this winter. More if options are not exercised. If they were a good player their options are generally picked up. I think I wouldd rather have an outfield of Santana and the rest of the shortstops and sign Hardy.[/FONT]

#13 mike wants wins

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 07:18 AM

Not interested in signing a bunch of 35 year olds. It is time to move on. at some point, they need to bit the bullet and move on. I have zero interest in Willingham coming back, that is insane. He can't field at all. MAYBE as a DH, but then you don't sign Morales. At least Willingham has SOME positional ability.

For the OP....interesting points on both sides, does this make it more likely people take offers, and then less likely they are made? No idea. I do think it shows the value of the more certain present vs. the possibility of a better future (to a player making money).
Lighten up Francis....

#14 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 08:15 AM

I'm guessing this gets adjusted in the next CBA. It isn't good for the players or baseball as a whole. It either gets done away with altogether, or there's going to be a way for players to sign by ST with a lesser compensation pick or a way to punish the team offering the QO to make them think twice about offering a QO. I'm not sure guys like Drew or Morales should have been offered one at all.

What I do think is that if a guy like Trout was in that position, no one would think twice about giving up the first rounder... They just need to find the balance.

#15 PseudoSABR

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 11:50 AM

I think teams are going to be much more wary about offering 1/15 mil deals to guys that they would prefer would "turn it down"

I think it balances out in the end.

I think you have a point. But one year deals aren't awful in general, and in particular, I'm not sure it holds true to these specific players and teams. Texas, Mariners, and Boston probably would have been fine with keeping Cruz, Morales, and Drew.

#16 PseudoSABR

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 11:55 AM

Morales has had a whopping 84 at bats. Shouldn't we wait a little longer before a judgement is made on Morales?

My point, nor I think Cameron's, was to cast judgment on Morales. But as little as 84 at bats are, they have added weight when Morales, if healthy, may only have an additional 300; his season is already one-forth over. Morales', and Drew's, value heading into the next offseason will be depreciated as a result. I think this may work in the Twins favor, as they may be able to resign him cheaply (though that would block Vargas).

#17 PseudoSABR

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 11:58 AM

Personally, if he enjoys his time with the Twins this season, I'd make signing Morales a high priority. I know not everyone agrees with this approach, but not every top prospect in the Twins system is going to be ready for a full time gig at the start of 2015. And we already have to sort out CF, at least in the short term, and probably LF as well. Forget that Morales has struggled so far. Not only is the sample size small, but he virtually came off the street and was plugged in the lineup. His career track history is of a solid hitter with legit power and RBI production. And he's not some mid-30 year old trying to hang on either.

I tend to agree, and we'll have a better idea at the end of your given his production. While Vargas may turn out to be a competent player, the Twins can't wait on every prospect; he'd be a valuable trade chit in any case.

#18 PseudoSABR

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:04 PM

I'm guessing this gets adjusted in the next CBA. It isn't good for the players or baseball as a whole. It either gets done away with altogether, or there's going to be a way for players to sign by ST with a lesser compensation pick or a way to punish the team offering the QO to make them think twice about offering a QO. I'm not sure guys like Drew or Morales should have been offered one at all.

What I do think is that if a guy like Trout was in that position, no one would think twice about giving up the first rounder... They just need to find the balance.

The problem is punishing teams (even bad ones) for trying to get better. The compensation part of the qualifying offer I see as a positive. It allows for teams to retain star players without the future commitment, and be compensated if they leave. That the QO was set too high (at 14) was also a problem, and I wonder if we'll see that number go down this year.

#19 tobi0040

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:07 PM

Morales missed spring training. Hard to jump in at mid season



That is the key. Not working out or not having access to MLB facilities, trainers, or frankly maybe not having someone checking in on you has hurt these guys. It almost always happens. You see it in football when rookies or even veterans hold out and miss training camp. Whether it is guys taking the qualifying deal or taking less after they gauge the market is not what they thought, I think you see next to nobody sitting out for months on end. This has definitely been a what not to do lesson.

#20 Twins Twerp

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:11 PM

Yep.

Personally, if he enjoys his time with the Twins this season, I'd make signing Morales a high priority. I know not everyone agrees with this approach, but not every top prospect in the Twins system is going to be ready for a full time gig at the start of 2015. And we already have to sort out CF, at least in the short term, and probably LF as well. Forget that Morales has struggled so far. Not only is the sample size small, but he virtually came off the street and was plugged in the lineup. His career track history is of a solid hitter with legit power and RBI production. And he's not some mid-30 year old trying to hang on either.

Work with me here. Dozier hits in one of the top spots next year. The other spot could be Santana, or Escobar, or a decent, solid, fill-in ML CF option that they MUST sign for temp/and or 4th OF work, with Rosario being a possible option if he has a strong second half of the year this year. (That 50 game suspension continues to hurt and haunt) Mauer has finally been rescued from the body snatchers that held him the first months of this season to hit like he should be, before his recent injury. UGH! But the real Mauer hits 3rd in 2015. And let's say it begins to really click for Arcia, which it could just any day now, truth be told.

Then what?

Look, I want Vargas to be our full time DH and backup 1B yesterday, just like everyone else. And I don't care that he's struggled the last week or so. There are always ebbs and flows to a season. But he's young, in AA, and even if promoted to Rochester for most of the second half of the season, and even if he rakes, are we comfortable he's ready for 500 ML AB's just like that?

And what about LF? Unless it's a cheap 1-year deal, Willingham is gone. So who plays LF and provides offense from that spot? Parmelee has been teasing us this year that the lightbulb might slowly coming on, a dimmer switch that someone keeps messing with. But at least we're seeing something. Rosario? Maybe. But he could also be in the running for a CF option. And for now, he's still in AA, behind due to his suspension, and even with a quick promotion to Rochester, and a couple really good months and outstanding ability, like Vargas, we're talking about a very young player with little AAA experience that we'd be counting on.

The Twins have the finances to sign that decent CF option to help out. And with guys like Willingham and Correia gone, they also have the finances to sign a quality corner OF to fill a spot in the middle of the lineup. With financial flexibility, and future trade possibilities, the Twins can afford to bring back Morales, sign that decent CF option, AND a vet corner OF without blocking the future for Buxton, Rosario, Vargas and Walker a bit further down the line.

This would give them a mix of veterans and youngsters to build a solid lineup to go along with a solid pitching staff, further fortified with a large group of young pitchers nearly ready to supplement and contribute, and still allow the young kids mentioned, and Sano, to work themselves one by one in to the lineup in 2015, and early 2016 at worse.

Pretty much agree. I would like to add suzuki to the post. With no viable catching options i think he should be brought back. Pinto is a conundrum. He should catch and be a the dh on non catching days...but who knows if he will ever be an everyday catcher.

#21 tobi0040

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:19 PM

My point, nor I think Cameron's, was to cast judgment on Morales. But as little as 84 at bats are, they have added weight when Morales, if healthy, may only have an additional 300; his season is already one-forth over. Morales', and Drew's, value heading into the next offseason will be depreciated as a result. I think this may work in the Twins favor, as they may be able to resign him cheaply (though that would block Vargas).



In the 2014 case study, you have Drew, Morales, and Nelson Cruz. All turned down thinking 1/14 was not enough. Cruz bit the bullet and signed a 1 year $8M deal. He has played great this year, has 26 HR so far and will be handsomely rewarded next off-season.

The two guys that sat out have seen their stock plummet.

#22 PseudoSABR

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 12:49 PM

The two guys that sat out have seen their stock plummet.

Right. I think it's interesting to note that both Drew and Morales are getting paid more for their shorten seasons than Cruz is for his entire one. Cruz may have taken a short term loss, but he'll likely receive a much more significant return.

What's so surprising is that Boras not only mismanaged the market he undervalued the worth of team's offseason programs for players including spring training; seemingly he believed his own facilities and people could replace such programs.

#23 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:15 PM

The problem is punishing teams (even bad ones) for trying to get better. The compensation part of the qualifying offer I see as a positive. It allows for teams to retain star players without the future commitment, and be compensated if they leave. That the QO was set too high (at 14) was also a problem, and I wonder if we'll see that number go down this year.


The problem is that all the risk lies with the player. I'd argue that Morales could have gotten a multi year deal at a similar amount (Drew as well for that matter) had there been no draft pick compensation tied to it. Instead, two guys who were above average players ended up not playing because of this rule. Making it lower isn't going to make the problem better, it makes it worse putting more players into this situation. I don't see it happening.

I think compensation for smaller market teams with FAs leave is a good thing, but it is not good for baseball when players when good players are unemployed.

#24 amjgt

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:27 PM

This is totally off the cuff, and I haven't put strategic thought into it, but what about two levels of QO?

A) 15mil (or whatever number gets calculated) - Costs the new team it's 1st round pick.... with the same top 10 exception as now

B) 7.5 mil (half) - Old team gets a sandwich pick, but new team gives up nothing.

#25 tobi0040

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:37 PM

What's so surprising is that Boras not only mismanaged the market he undervalued the worth of team's offseason programs for players including spring training; seemingly he believed his own facilities and people could replace such programs.


I am sure all the GM's and front office folks are pretty sad that Scott's image has taken a hit this year.

#26 tobi0040

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 01:39 PM

This is totally off the cuff, and I haven't put strategic thought into it, but what about two levels of QO?

A) 15mil (or whatever number gets calculated) - Costs the new team it's 1st round pick.... with the same top 10 exception as now

B) 7.5 mil (half) - Old team gets a sandwich pick, but new team gives up nothing.


That would be more interesting. I think MLB will attempt to come up with a solution that does not hurt the player as much. The draft pick comp has killed guys like Lohse, Drew, etc. We can say Drew could have taken $15M, but the market probably had him at 3/30 or 4/40 or more without the pick attached.

#27 amjgt

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 02:02 PM

It's the guys that are looking (hoping) for those 3/25 to 4/40 deals that the current system hurts the most. Having a mid-level QO would mostly help those players old teams, but not hurt the player at all.

Think about Suzuki. For the sake of argument, lets say he keeps playing close-ish to his current high level. He probably be looking to cash in over the offseason with a 2/15 or 3/20 type deal.

7.5 is a fair yearly salary and a Mid-QO it would behoove the Twins to make. If he accepts, great. If he turns it down, which he probably would, we probably get a sandwich pick out of it.

It's those type of guys (old Type B) that teams used to get a little something for losing, that end up getting hurt in the new system.

#28 Willihammer

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 03:56 PM

Both Drew and Morales are represented by Scott Boras, and both players trained at a facility provided by Boras during the offseason and after the season began, with both unemployed because of their contractual asking prices.


Cameron kinda brushes over the Boras factor. Maybe if he had lowered his sights just a little his clients could have signed before ST. As it is, all of the 13 QO-offered players, including the Boras clients, got at least as much guaranteed money as a QO (prorated in Boras' two cases).

#29 PseudoSABR

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 04:37 PM

The problem is that all the risk lies with the player. I'd argue that Morales could have gotten a multi year deal at a similar amount (Drew as well for that matter) had there been no draft pick compensation tied to it.

The problem wasn't the compensation, per se, it was the forfeiture of a draft pick; there'd be nothing prohibitive (in signing such a player) about compensating the former team as long as the signing team gives up no draft-pick.

I don't see lowering the qualifying offer as realistic either; but certainly the way the market played out last winter indicates it probably should be, if such a system is going to work.

And I agree, the system isn't working if it leaves marketable, good players unemployed.

Edited by PseudoSABR, 03 July 2014 - 04:46 PM.


#30 Guest_USAFChief_*

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Posted 03 July 2014 - 07:17 PM

The simple answer from the player's perspective is to accept the QO. Both Drew and Morales could have had one yr, $14M contracts this year. They (and their agent) misjudged, and ended up with one year deals for less money. That's on them.

There is nothing wrong with the system in place. Teams have to consider making a QO, players have to judge accepting one. That one or the other misjudges once in a while doesn't mean the system is broken. In fact, it seems to me that is an indication the system is working as it is designed.