Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Obvious qualifying offer headline of the day

Mike Pelfrey,
pitcher for hire.

The lead item on the Twins website Tuesday (and still Wednesday morning): "Twins forego qualifying offer to Pelfrey."

No kidding. The qualifying offer threshold is $14.1 million. I think it likely Mike Pelfrey can get more than that in free agency, but it will take more than one season.

In fact, if the the Twins are seriously interested in having the right-hander return, two years, $14 million seems a reasonable offer. I'm still not sure if they should want him back.

Pelfrey, incidentally, is now off the 40-man roster as listed on the Twins website. Thirty-six are on, leaving four openings. I don't think that will be enough for the minor leaguers the team is likely to protect.

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Thirteen free agents got qualifying offers, which entitle their old team to draft pick compensation if they sign elsewhere. Last winter none of the nine players given QO accepted, and for a handful of them that wrecked their market. (Remember how long it took Kyle Lohse to find a team?)

So ... who on this year's list ought to seriously consider taking $14.1 million for one year and skipping the marketplace? Here are four names:

Kendrys Morales: Now 30, he has minimal defensive value and his slugging percentage since returning from his broken leg has been in the mid .400s. He might be worth $14 million a year, but not $14 million and a draft pick.

Curtis Granderson: At 32, he's not a legit centerfielder anymore, and much of his offensive value has become tied to his ability to pull the ball into the short right field seats at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees probably don't want him to accept the QO, just as they didn't want Nick Swisher to accept last year.

Carlos Beltran: He turns 37 in April. Still a good player (better than Morales or Granderson), but that's getting up there for a fat multi-year deal. I think St. Louis would be quite happy to have him return on a one-year $14.1 million deal. I think they'd be happy to collect an extra draft pick too.

Ubaldo Jimenez: Had a nice season for Cleveland. But ... his track record is inconsistent, his fastball velocity continues to decline and he's not noted for working deep into games. There may still be a market for him, but I can see him getting Lohsed.

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