Tough qualifying offer calls

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Updated: October 30, 2013, 9:51 AM ET
By Dan Szymborski | ESPN Insider

Curtis GrandersonJim McIsaac/Getty ImagesThe Yankees aren't going to do better than Granderson for the price of a qualifying offer.

The season may be over for players on 28 of the 30 teams, but for front offices around baseball, there's no such thing as an offseason. Most teams will have big decisions to make between now and spring training, and the first decision to be made for many of the league's general manager involves whether to offer impending free agents a qualifying offer for the 2014 season.

Some of these decisions will be easy -- Robinson Cano will certainly get one and Rafael Furcal will not -- but some will not. While we won't know for another week who gets a qualifying offer and who doesn't, let's jump forward and push those fence-sitters to one side or the other.

For those who need to brush up on this concept, the qualifying offer was a new concept last offseason, and it works like this: Make a player an offer equal to that of the average of the top 125 player salaries and if he doesn't accept, you get a supplemental first-round pick in next year's amateur draft. Sign a player that received a qualifying offer, you lose a pick, either in the first round if you don't have a protected pick (one of the top 10 selections in the draft) or your next available pick.

This year, a qualifying offer is $14.1 million, so any player who accepts a qualifying offer will be under contract for 2014 at that salary. The risk of a player accepting is balanced, however, by the value of that additional draft pick you might gain. (For context: Since the start of free agency, picks 30-35 in the draft have been worth, on average about 4 WAR while under team control in the majors.)

With all of this in mind, I figured this would be a good time to look at some of the second-tier free agents and determine which of them are worthy of a qualifying offer.


Curtis Granderson, OF | New York Yankees
Worth a qualifying offer? Yes

Granderson turns 33 in March, so he's not young, and he's coming off of an injury-filled season. Yet even though the Yankees desperately need to bring Robinson Cano back and want to stay under the luxury tax threshold, this is an offer that the Yankees have to make.