The Moody News: Taking a quick look at the remaining unsigned free agents who received qualifying offers

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas wherever you happened to be.  The holidays led to a very quiet week around baseball, so I thought I'd take a look at the players who received qualifying offers who are still on the market.

OF Nelson Cruz Cruz is coming off a good season for the Rangers (.266/.327/.506) if you ignore his 50 game "vacation" at the end.  If he's the guy he was in Texas, he's easily worth a draft pick to a contending team.  But there have to be serious questions about him and its difficult to see how this shakes out.  It amazes me to this day he didn't accept the qualifying offer as a make-good type deal.

SS Stephen Drew He's the best shortstop left on the market, but there has been surprisingly little buzz around him.  As mentioned below, the Mets were connected to him on Monday before saying on Friday that they are happy with Ruben Tejada at shortstop.  There don't seem to be a lot of teams in the market for a shortstop if the Mets are out.  He's a guy that could go to Spring Training or later.

RHP Ubaldo Jimenez Who is going to show up?  Jimenez's up and down career is pretty well summed up by his stay in Cleveland.  A dreadful 4.98 xFIP in 2012 followed up by a very good 3.62 xFIP in 2013.  If he's the guy he was in 2013 he's a nice pickup for a team that plans to contend.  You can't blame GMs for being a little wary, though.

1B/DH Kendrys Morales Returning to Seattle seems an extreme longshot with Logan Morrison and Corey Hart now in the fold.  The Mets and the Orioles have both been tied to him, but the draft pick seems to be scaring them away.  It wouldn't surprise me for him to be without a job until mid-season, when he no longer has draft compensation tied to his contract.

RHP Ervin Santana Santana is the happiest guy in baseball that Tanaka has finally posted, as speculation about the Japanese import has certainly held up the market on guys like Santana and RHP Matt Garza.  He should have no trouble finding a home before spring training after Tanaka and Garza have come off the board.

Around the League:



  • The Dodgers signed RHP Chris Perez and RHP  Jamey Wright to a one-year contract.  Perez, 28, has pitched for 6 seasons with the Cardinals and the Indians.  He figures to be a part of the middle-relief core in the Dodger's bullpen.  Wright celebrated his 39th birthday the day after the signing and started his major league career in 1996.  He pitched 66 games for the Rays last year and figures to also be a part of the Dodgers' bullpen in a swing role.


  • You can cross Juan Uribe off the Cubs list.  Apparently, the Dodgers are not winding things down for the Holidays this year and re-signed the infielder to a twoyear contract.  John had speculated earlier in the off-season that Uribe might be a good fit for the Cubs.


  • Joel Sherman has an article on Japanese RHP Masahiro Tanaka.  The entire thing is interesting reading but this line, in particular, struck me as significant: "Tanaka’s agent, Casey Close, does not have Scott Boras’ public reputation for bargaining hard and toward the top of the market, but he does have it within the sport."


  • Ex-Cub alert: the Angels have released RHP Chris Volstad to pursue an offer in Korea.  You may remember Volstad as the alternative to a bag of used bats the Cubs acquired from the Marlins for Carlos "I Quit" Zambrano.  He had a forgettable 2012 with the Cubs, putting up a 4.68 xFIP to go with a 3-12 record.  Hopefully he has better luck in the orient.
  • The Angels signed OF Raul Ibanez to make up for the strikeouts the lineup lost when Mark Trumbo was traded to Arizona.  After becoming a folk hero for the Yankees in the 2012 playoffs, Ibanez hit .242/.306/.487 with the Mariners last year with 128 strikeouts.


Have a safe and happy New Year, everyone.  See you back here next Saturday for the first column of 2014.

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  • Great article Mike. I just enjoyed the "in case you missed it" stuff and the little facts or tidbits you can't find anywhere else, or if you do hear them, you get them in a review type article from a weeks worth. Thank you for putting in the work.

  • Which of these players will cost a draft pick if signed. Is he worth it?

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    All of them. They all received the qualifying offer. In my opinion, none of them are worth it for the Cubs given where they are now.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Agreed. Drew might be mildly interesting - if the Cubs didn't already have a solid young SS, and several guys in the pipeline that can either push him to 2B or swing over to 2B or 3B themselves.

    Cruz is waaaayyy too risky IMO with the PED issue in his recent past.

    The 2nd round draft pick has more potential value in the long run.

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    In reply to drkazmd65:

    Cruz is a roll of the dice because if he's still any good at all he'll get you more than a 2nd round draft pick at the trade deadline.

  • Meant to put this in yesterday's thread about next yr's FA class: watch out for some opportunistic "buying" at this year's trade deadline. Even though we're very likely to be way out of it, I can see Epstoyer being open to filling long-term needs at the deadline if teams are open for biz on attractive names. A perfect example would be CarGo , who you'd assume COL will be open to moving if their mini contention push stalls. Particularly if we don't snag Tanaka, we should have $ flexibility to make some opportunistic plays.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Agreed. I've hinted as much but sounds like an idea to go into with some further detail.

  • I don't just mean CarGo. It seems like teams take a more aggressive approach, financially, in the offseason. However, if the teams, particular mid and small mkt ones, don't see desired results, there can be a retrenchment that offers opportunity for teams with "dry powder". Also- see big BOS/LA deal- you can acquire premium talent(s) for little more than salary relief. Not an expert on complex financial state of CHC but it sounds like revenue pipeline should be more resolved , by midseason.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    Sure, CarGo is one obvious example but it applies to other players as well.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    ONly problem is that the deals made arent really for CarGo type players who are earning their contracts but rather Carl Crawford type players who are albatrosses

  • In reply to Andrew:

    Hanley Ramirez,AGon, Jose Reyes, to name a few more. Point is that it's better to make these types of deals , as opposed to paying serious surplus value for someone like Price or Stanton.

  • Personally, I thought Cruz and Drew both wold regret not signing the QO. We'll see, but Cruz could have really benefited from a full season w/o any STD drama. For Drew, it's obvious the way Bogaerts looked that they don't "need" him. That's a really soft market for a 30yo light hitting SS... Is there even a legit contender that is just a Drew type SS away from making a run? I don't see anything.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Maybe Cruz realized that he would be pedestrian without PED's.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    I think he made a huge mistake not taking the QO. I'm surprised Texas offered.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Wouldn't we all be happier without any STD drama lol. Cruz just has not been very good for a long time thats all. He is not a good defender even in the corners. He doesn't get on base that much. all he does is hit homeruns and he is banking on someone overvaluing that skill

  • That anyone would give up a draft pick for Stephen Drew or Kendrys Morales is mind-boggling to me.

  • John, on the topic of opportunistic buys, I think I referenced. Sheehan/Rany podcast this offseason where they felt that the flexibility to pick off veterans with contracts teams are looking to unload will allow Cubs flexibility to add veterans to core without sacrificing any of their premium guys. I think we may find $ in combination with guys like Vogelbach, Alcantara, for example may bring us some nice talent in return. I really get the sense the "big" trade over the next 1-3 yrs , outside if possibly Shark,will be for a stud
    LH bat.

  • In reply to Carl9730:

    I have an article later on some thoughts. Interested what you may have to add specifically. Should be out around 2 pm or so.

  • Back of napkin: teams that might fall into that category: COL, FLA, PHI, TOR, BAL, ARI, CLE, KC.

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