The New York Yankees did not extend a qualifying offer to Didi Gregorius. If the Cincinnati Reds wish to pursue the shortstop, there’s no strings attached.
The New York Yankees chose not to extend a qualifying offer to shortstop Didi Gregorius. This means that if the Cincinnati Reds choose to pursue Gregorius in free agency, there’s no draft compensation should the team’s former farmhand agree to come back to the Queen City.
A qualifying offer was extended to several free agents yesterday. Most notable among those that received the offer were Gerritt Cole of the Houston Astros, Anthony Rendon of the Washington Nationals and Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants. Gregorius was among the surprise candidates not to receive such an offer.
Essentially, the qualifying offer is a one-year agreement between the player and the club that’s worth the mean salary of the Major League Baseball’s 125 highest-paid players. This year, any player that signs such an offer will receive approximately $17.8M. Gregorius was ticketed to be among the group to receive a qualifying offer, but the timeframe to extend such an offer has come and gone.
The Cincinnati Reds have a vacancy that Gregorius could fill, as José Iglesias, last year’s starting shortstop, is a free agent as well. After a career-year, a lot of fans would like to see Iglesias return to Cincinnati, but the prospect of signing Gregorius may be too enticing to pass up.
By not offering offering Didi Gregorius a qualifying offer, it does two things. First, Gregorius is free to sign with whatever team he chooses. Entering his ninth year in the big leagues, you can be sure that Gregorius will be after the best deal he can get.
Second, and perhaps more important, signing Gregorius no longer requires draft compensation should he and the Reds agree to a deal. That should be enough incentive for Cincinnati to pursue Sir Didi this offseason. Any team that signs a player who rejects a qualifying offer must forfeit a draft pick to the team that initially extended the qualifying offer to the player.
Being a small market franchise, signing a player to a long-term contract and surrendering a draft pick is not something we’re likely to see the Cincinnati Reds do. Draft capital is very valuable to team nowadays, especially for a team like the Reds who don’t typically offer big contracts to free agents, but prefer to build from within or via trades.
Gregorius will be a hot name this winter, as the free agent market for shortstops is very thin. Iglesias may be the next-best player on the market. Gregorius struggled a bit last season after recovering from Tommy John surgery. However, if returns to form in 2020, the left-handed slugger could likely be counted on for 20-plus home runs and 80-plus RBIs.