The St. Louis Cardinals only have four free agents after the 2020 season. For the first year in some time, the Cards shouldn’t make any qualifying offers.
Every year, there is a dance that goes on around whether or not a team should offer an impending free agent the qualifying offer. For the St. Louis Cardinals, it has been something they are not afraid to give out.
The debate generally comes down to balancing what a player is worth, if the team wants to sign them back longterm, and getting the draft pick if they decline the offer. In years past, the Cardinals have gotten valuable players from the compensatory picks they received from players leaving.
One big change in the past few years has been that the team who signs a player who declined a qualifying offer no longer has to give up their first-round pick. Instead, a change was made to make a team’s first pick exempt from that rule.
Still, a potential second-round pick after losing a player to free agency is still worthwhile compensation.
The qualifying offer is always the average of the top 125 player salaries in the league, and as Evan Drellich reported above, it has been set at $18.9M for this winter.
For the Cardinals, I wouldn’t expect any of their free agents to receive a qualifying offer this year.
The Cardinals only have four players entering free agency this year. Lead by Yadier Molina, the group is made up of Adam Wainwright, Brad Miller, and Matt Wieters. In all, that is $29M off the books from 2020. The bulk of that $29M comes from the $20M that Molina made the past three years, and even though giving Molina a qualifying offer would save the team some money, I don’t know if he’s worth it for that much.
The other three players combining for $9M won’t be getting the offer either, meaning it is unlikely the Cardinals get any extra picks from this avenue this year.
The decision the St. Louis Cardinals have on whether or not to resign Yadi and Waino is not a light one. If they do decide to bring both of them back, I’d hope that they would be able to do so for a combined amount of less than the qualifying offer.
Teams have until five days after the World Series ends to extend a qualifying offer or not, and then players have 10 days to decide after that.
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I am an advocate for bringing back Miller and it’ll take more than just the $2M he signed for before 2020, but that should be an easy choice. I wouldn’t expect any surprises here.