Rosenthal: How will the qualified present agents without influence? In addition to the Mets, the brave battle for the playoff

On February 10, in the middle of the owners’ shutdown, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the league had agreed to eliminate draft selection compensation for free agents who declined a qualifying offer. However, the apparent franchise came with a caveat: The end of the qualifying bid scheme would have to be negotiated with the players’ union as part of a new collective bargaining agreement.

Two days later, the association had already offered to abolish direct choice compensation, but as part of a proposal linked to luxuries tax limits, the union rejected it as too low. A month later, with talks coming to a head, the league said it would not rely on an offer to qualify unless the league agreed to an international draft. The parties brought up the issue, setting a July 25 deadline, to agree on the exchange. Unsurprisingly, they did not. Thus, the qualifying offer will likely remain in place for the next five years, restricting certain salaries to the free agent.

When calculating the cost of a free agent, the difference takes into account draft or pickup selection losses, as well as the international bonus pool space. The system, which union president Tony Clark has acknowledged affects fewer and fewer players each off-season, is still estimated by industry sources at costing players between $50 million and $100 million annually. However, the impact is not expected to be terribly large for the 2022-23 free agents who may receive eligible offers. The players are good.

For those who may have forgotten, the team that signs a qualified free agent and crosses the luxury tax threshold forfeits the second and fifth round selection plus $1 million in the international reward pool space. A club that does not pass the threshold and does not receive a revenue share loses a second player plus $500,000 in the international pool space. The revenue sharing recipient loses a third round.

Players can’t get a qualifying bid twice, so Jose Abreu, Carlos Correa and Noah Syndergaard don’t have to worry about attaching a draft pick that acts as a draw for their markets. Players traded mid-season also can’t get a qualifying bid, except perhaps for Josh Bell, Andrew Benentende, Wilson Contreras, and – if the Red Sox sells – Nathan Evaldi and JD Martinez.

Here’s a look at potential free agents who, as of now, have either solid bets or boundary possibilities to receive the qualifying one-year offer, which was worth $18.4 million last season. Asterisks indicate players who can withdraw from their contracts and become free agents.

Strong bets

* Nolan Arenado, 3B, Cardinals
Chris Bassett, RHP, Mets
* Xander Bogarts, SS, Red Sox
* Jacob Degrom, RHP, Mets
Edwin Diaz, CL, Mets
Aaron Judge, Yankees
Joe Musgrove, RHB Padres
Brandon Nemo, CF, Mets
Carlos Rodon, LHP, Giants
Dansby Swanson, SS, Braves
Tria Turner, SS, Dodgers

Most of these are fairly straightforward. Swanson’s market would likely be hit by the qualifying bid simply because three more stops with stronger track records might hit free agency. The Bogaerts have full no-trade protection, which makes it more difficult for the Red Sox to move them if they sell. Musgrove, still in the midst of extension negotiations, may never hit the market.

Four Mets are on this list, but fans of this club shouldn’t get too excited by a possible bonus from their recruiting choices. For starters, the team would be better off keeping those players. Plus, the Mets are well above the luxury tax threshold, so for every free agent leaving, they’ll only get a pick after the fourth round.

Limit possibilities

Tyler Anderson, LHP, Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Dodgers
Sean Manea, LHP, Padres
Martin Perez, LHB, Rangers
Taylor Rogers, CL, Padres
Jameson Tellon, RHP, Yankees

Notice a common thread? Five of the six players on this list are starting shooters enjoying strong to excellent seasons, but the equation will likely change for anyone who starts to fade. At the moment, Taillon (6.98 ERA last 6 starts) and Manaea (5.91 ERA last six) are facing that very possibility.

Kershaw, who earned $17 million this season, falls short of a qualifying bid, is a unique case. The Dodgers refused to extend his qualifying bid outside of last season while he was recovering from an elbow problem. They will likely take a similar approach if he chooses to return in 2023, so as not to confine him to a decision.

Rogers, with a 6.62 ERA in his last 18 appearances dating June 2, will only draw attention for a qualifying show if he gets hot again. A one-year deal in the $18 million to $19 million range for a closer top isn’t necessarily unrealistic. Raisel Iglesias turned down an eligible offer from the Angels last season before returning to the team on a four-year, $58 million free agent contract.

The Mets vs Braves in the deadline too

As the deadline approaches, the new match format should motivate both the Mets and Braves to be particularly aggressive. The Yankees, Astros and Dodgers have all wrapped up the first round. Final farewell numbers to go to the NL East Champion (the Brewers, who lead NL Central, are 6 1/2 games behind the Mets). Meanwhile, the runner-up can lure Padres in a round of top three wild cards.

As it currently stands, the NL Central Champion will be the No. 3 seed, facing the Cardinal, the third wild card and seed No. 6. The Mets or Braves, as the best wild card, will be seed No. 4. The Padres, as the second wildcard, will be No. 5.

Seeds 3 and 4 have great advantages, hosting every potential first-round match. However, the Mets have lost two of three at home to Yo Darvish of Padres, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove. The return of Fernando Tates Jr. is expected to make the Padres team stronger.

Even if the Mets or Braves win in a first-round match, they’ll need to spend their top bowlers up front and likely start the Division Series at a disadvantage — like the Dodgers did in the NLCS last season after defeating the Cardinals in the Wild — playing cards and giants in the Division Series.

Twins need a spray

Two rival officials on Monday expressed little confidence that the twins would hold onto AL Central, which they currently lead with three-and-a-half games over the Guardians and four games on the White Sox.

One official said he thought the Guardians were better than the Twins, citing the Minnesota shooting staff, the catcher’s mediocre attacking, and sometimes flimsy defense in locations other than the short stopping point. The other official said he believed the White Sox would win the division by five games or more.

With Monday’s entry, the Twins averaged 4.56 runs per game (13th in a major), the White Sox 4.41 (15th) and the Guardians 4.39 (16th). But if the twins fail to address their offer, the dire expectations of club officials may pay off.

The Bullpen market is always full of deadline prospects, but the shortage of quality starters is an issue for the Twins and other teams looking for rotation assistance. The Reds’ Luis Castillo and Frankie Montas of the Athletics are leading, but the group could expand if pitchers like Marlins’ Pablo López, Nathan Eovaldi of the Red Sox, Carlos Rodón and Alex Wood are available for the Giants.

Castillo trading companies


Luis Castillo (Elsa/Getty Images)

So, what kind of return should the Reds expect for Castillo, who is in control of the club not only for the rest of the season, but also the following?

Consider two recent trades on the deadline for starting shooters at the same level of service — Jose Berrios, who went from the Twins to the Blue Jays in 2021; and Marcus Strowman, who moved from the Jays to the Mets in 2019.

Each deal brought in two respectable prospects, and both included right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson, the 48th pick in the 2018 draft. For Stroman, Jays acquired Woods Richardson and Righty Anthony Kay, the 31st pick in 2016. For Berríos, The Twins acquire Woods Richardson and Shortstop Austin Martin, the fifth pick in 2020.

The performance of these players has not yet matched their pedigree. Woods Richardson, 21, has a 3.40 ERA in 11 Double A starts, but is currently on the injured list. Martin, 23, is struggling offensively at the same level. Kai, 27, has 5.48 ERA in 28 MLS games and is currently on the injury list with the Jays in Triple A.

The Astros’ deal with Gerrit Cole in January 2018 was somewhat comparable to the situation the Reds face with Castillo, even though Cole has been in control of the club for two full seasons, rather than a plus one. For Cole, the Buccaneers acquired right-handers Joe Musgrove and Michael Velez, third baseman Colin Moran, and quarterback Jason Martin.

Ray is considering the next moves

End-of-season losses for quarterback Kevin Kiermayer (left hip) and catcher Mike Zunino (thoracic outlet syndrome) won’t necessarily change Rice’s final plans. Club officials all anticipate the developments, which is why they acquired catcher Christian Bethancourt from athletics on July 9 and signed free defense agent Roman Quinn on July 21.

The challenge for the Rays, who are currently second in the AL wild-card, is figuring out how to boost their roster while waiting for the return of baseman/first defender Harold Ramirez (broken right thumb), Shortstop Wander Franco (right wrist discomfort) and player Midfield: Manuel Margo (right knee sprain). Ramirez and Franco are expected to return in mid to late August, and Margot in September.

Rays’ current position group is the fourth-youngest in the league, creating a need for what one club official described as “more adults in the room”. But the front office lacks a clear roadmap for how to improve. Perhaps in another week, the information you gather on players like right-hander Josh Lowe and designated hitter Luke Raleigh will provide a clearer direction.

Like most contenders, the Rays are exploring Bullpen’s help – they are among the teams exploring available Cubs mitigators, although their own and injured list includes many options. Cubs Willson Contreras doesn’t seem to be a priority play, but the Rays aren’t afraid to swing big. A year ago on Deadline, they spoke with the Cubs about Craig Kimbrill and Kris Bryant.

One possibility for the Rays is a senior player exchange similar to the May 2021 deal that sent Willie Adams short to the Brewers for right-handers Drew Rasmussen and JP Feyereisen. They don’t intend to turn back, not when they see the postseason dock as well within reach.

around the century

Information from major league sources and the athlete staff:

• As the Mets search for another racket, their list of potential targets includes Orioles’ Trey Mancini, Andrew Benintendi of the Royals and – if available – JD Martinez of the Red Sox. The addition of designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach seems to make a right-handed hitter like Mancini or Martinez more suitable.

• Citizens number one baseman Josh Bell remains a priority for the Astros. The Nats are more likely to move Bale before right-hander Juan Soto, if they move Soto at all. The Astros are also exploring adding another catcher while Jason Castro is slowly recovering from a left knee problem.

• The chances of Rangers reaching the post-season are less than 1 per cent, but the team still wants to have a manageable starting bowler. Righty Jon Gray is under contract until 2025 and it will be necessary for the club to sign Martín Pérez for an extension if he ends up strong. Perez is open to the idea.

(Top photo by Chris Bassett: Vincent Carchetta/USA Today Sports)

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