Apparently my New Year's resolution should be to think before I speak. As I was strolling down the street in my neighborhood, one of my neighbors was hammering one of those neighborhood signs into the ground, the ones which read "Drive Like Your Kids Live Here". As I approached the sign I simply asked my neighbor, "What if I don't like my kids?" Now that I reflect on it perhaps it wasn't the most neighborly thing to say, but it's a fair question.
So not one, not two, but three potential free agents have accepted their qualifying offers, which is three more than ever accepted prior to this off-season. Wherefore this trend? (Did I mention that occasionally I am going to lapse into Shakespearean prose?)
The three players are Colby Rasmus, Matt Wieters, and Brett Anderson, all of whom naturally had very different circumstances surrounding their would-be entrance into free agency.
Rasmus was healthy and coming off a good year followed by an excellent post-season, making his QO acceptance perhaps the most puzzling of the three. It's a gamble that will pay off if Rasmus puts a second consecutive solid season together and one that may backfire if he gets injured or regresses back to the disappointing player he was with St. Louis and Toronto.
Wieters was coming off of an injury that limited him to just 362 at bats over the past two seasons. Given that when healthy Wieters is worthy of a $15.8M contract it made sense for the Orioles to extend the QO, and given that he needs to re-establish himself as healthy and productive it made sense for Wieters to accept. The Orioles figure to get their money's worth in 2016 and Wieters figures to get a better contract, as a 2016 free agent, than he would have this off-season.
Anderson was coming off of the rarest of events: A healthy season for Brett Anderson. I know the Dodgers are desperate for starting pitching but I'm surprised they made the QO to Anderson, who was wise to grab it. You could argue he should have refused it, that this is the one off-season where a team might give him a long-term deal, that he could break down in 2016 and have fewer suitors, but if I were Anderson I would pocket $15.8M while I could.
As you may have guessed, I would not count on continued health for Anderson, whose reconstructed elbow relies on a sharp slider and whose body appears to move like a marionette more than like a single person. The team that signs him to an expensive long-term deal is likely to regret it.
Back to the question of why this year, three players accepted QOs instead of the 0 who accepted each year prior.
Is it that teams got more bold and extended QOs to players not good enough (or at least not in a good enough place in their career) to refuse it?
Or are players getting wiser to the benefits of grabbing close to $16M only to enjoy the free agent waters the very next year?
Or is it that the spectre of losing a draft pick is so greatly suppressing the value of free agents who refuse their QOs?
Did each of these players make the right decision in accepting? What about those teams for offering?
And how will this year's trifecta of QO-acceptors impact who is, and isn't offered QOs in the winter of 2016?
All questions to ponder, and weigh in on, as I run over your children.