5 p.m. today was the deadline for clubs to make decisions on whether they would extend “qualifying offers” to players departing for free agency. This year, the qualifying offers were $14.1 million for one year. If the player declines and signs with another club, the offering team receives a compensation pick in the June first-year player draft. Those picks take place between the first and second round (often referred to as ‘sandwich picks’ for that reason), and are made in reverse order based on winning percentage.
The only player to whom the Reds extended an offer this year was outfielder Shin-Soo Choo. Choo is expected to decline the offer. He has until one week from now to decide. Even if Shin-Soo chooses that route, the Reds can still compete to sign him as a free agent and GM Walt Jocketty has given several indications the Reds will do so aggressively. Few, if any, outside observers believe the Reds will win that competition. Then again, no one foresaw Joey Votto’s extension or the Reds bidding so aggressively on Aroldis Chapman.
The Reds did not extend offers to Bronson Arroyo, Zach Duke, Cesar Izturis, Manny Parra and Nick Masset.
Presumably, the Reds didn’t offer Arroyo because they were concerned he might accept it. The $14.1 million contract likely wouldn’t fit into the Reds’ payroll plans for 2014. The Reds have five other major league ready starting arms (Cueto, Bailey, Latos, Leake and Cingrani) plus the possibility of moving Aroldis Chapman to the rotation.
There’s a chance Arroyo might have declined the Reds’ offer, especially in light of the generous extension contract signed by Tim Lincecum. But other reports have estimated that Arroyo is looking at signing a two-year deal in the neighborhood of $24 million. If that’s the case, he may have preferred one year at a higher average annual salary and then entered the free agent market in 2015. The Reds apparently didn’t want to take that chance.