Ranking Baseball’s Top Free Agents With Qualifying Offers

Max Scherzer

Other Players of Note

Victor Martinez – Nothing devalues free agents more than their age. At 36 — by the time the season begins — Victor Martinez, a former catcher, will aim to extend his career beyond the one-year qualifying offer and test the waters of free agency. Martinez has surprisingly defied the odds and fought off  Father Time for quite a while — since turning 30, Martinez has batted over .300 in all five seasons. Entering 2014, Martinez’s lasting power was certainly in question, but he exploded in every offensive category, improving his average from .301 to a robust .335, his home runs from 14 to an astonishing 32, and leading the American League with a .974 OPS. This outburst was likely thanks to his body being spared the rigors of catching on a regular basis, but his restrictions to first base and designated hitter further bring down the value of the aging slugger. Martinez will probably receive a two-year deal somewhere, but it is unlikely that he will ever come close to his 2014 campaign again.

David Robertson – The Yankees closer is in the unique position of turning down what would make him the highest paid closer in baseball only to shop his services for a longer-term deal. Turning 30 when the season starts, Robertson should have many solid years in front of him — he boasts a 2.81 ERA and averages 12 strikeouts per nine innings, all in relief — but teams certainly have grown wise before shelling out huge contracts to relief pitchers. Robertson probably serves as the exception to this rule, and will likely get a four or five-year deal, but the average salary should not come close to his qualifying offer.

Michael Cuddyer – Of all the players most likely to accept a qualifying offer, Cuddyer is the textbook example. An aging power hitter who likely only has one more year, at best, of quality play, received a qualifying offer that would pay him almost 50 percent more than the $10.5 million he made last season. His past two years have been extremely solid — a .331 batting average, 30 home runs, and 115 RBIs in 179 games — but the clock is certainly about to run out on the outfielder. There is no legitimate reason for Cuddyer to believe he could make more money on the open market and, with a draft pick now tied to his signing, he becomes one of the least desirable free agents. Michael Cuddyer would be crazy to decline the Rockies’ offer of $15.3 million next year.

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Mario Mergola
Mario Mergola is a writer, avid sports fan, former ESPN Radio producer, husband, and father who specializes in finding the hidden gems of the less-explored option. Follow @MarioMergola