Teams have until the fifth day after the World Series at 5PM EST to extend a $14.1MM qualifying offer to their prospective free agents. Should they do that, any team that isn’t the club that offered the $14.1MM has to surrender its 1st round pick unless that team is among the teams with the lowest ten records from 2013. If the signing team is from that group, they will surrender their second round draft pick. A glimpse into which teams those are can be read about here. Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly held a chat recently that was chronicled by MLB Trade Rumors that provides some insight into the strategies of the Giants this winter. The bullet point that may be most relevant to this post would be:
“The Giants are very unlikely to surrender their first round (14th overall) draft pick to sign a free agent who has rejected a qualifying offer. This could have a major impact on the chances of the team pursuing Bronson Arroyo, who could be extended a qualifying offer by the Reds. Baggarly feels that Arroyo and Dan Haren are the free agent pitchers who are most likely to be San Francisco targets.”
You can also look at this MLBTR-created custom Fangraphs leaderboard of Starting Pitchers to say things like, “Wait, Dan Haren‘s season wasn’t as awful as I thought it was.” Here are pitchers that I think will be getting that qualifying offer from their 2013 teams (listed in no particular order):
- Hiroki Kuroda
- Ubaldo Jimenez
- Ricky Nolasco
- Ervin Santana
- Bronson Arroyo (least confident about this one)
Matt Garza(Ineligible for qualifying offer due to being traded during the 2013 season)
My goodness, is that it? So, those are the pitchers, if signed, the Giants would give up a draft pick for. If you had a chance for any of them, would you go for it? Hiroki Kuroda seems to operate on one-year deals, so if you’re going to give up a draft pick, that doesn’t really make sense for the Giants as 2014 does not appear to be one of those emphasized “all in” years. Ervin Santana scares me, and he’s also going to be 31. No thanks (that’s probably just me, though). Garza is intriguing, but his comments earlier this year to another player’s wife have turned me off to him. I don’t want that kind of garbage on a team I support. Giving up a first round draft pick for a #4 starter in Ricky Nolasco doesn’t leave a good taste in my mouth, not that the Giants have been stellar with their first overall pick post-Zack Wheeler, but that’s not fair to Christian Arroyo. Keeping it Arroyo, Bronson is 37, and if he gets a QO, I would like the Giants to stay away, but if he doesn’t (which he very well might not), that could be a sort of interesting pursuit.
That leaves one guy that I haven’t mentioned and that’s Ubaldo, the former Rocky. Unpredictable like a Tim Lincecum, maybe, but five 3.0+ fWAR seasons since 2008 make him pretty likable from a contract signing standpoint. He’ll be thirty in January, and three to four years of goodish Ubaldo would give Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner some awesome support (not to mention the bullpen), and heck if Tim Lincecum shows up, this could be a rockin’ party. Would really like him to get that walk rate down, though. His velocity isn’t the same as it used to be, but whose is as you leave your twenties?
Sort of a side note, CBS’ baseball journalists have given their predictions on where they think certain somebodies will land, and interestingly enough, the Giants are mentioned twice. I found them interesting, but I don’t put a lot of stock into the ones that say the Giants will sign those pitchers.
So there you have it, that’s my opinion on the Giants pursuing the specifically named pitchers that might receive qualifying offers. I would much rather them pursue pitchers not bound by the QO, but if they can get a good deal — and especially with Ubaldo, I will of course be all for it.