There are only two teams left standing in MLB right now. But, let it be known that the other twenty-eight teams are all sitting. Not on their hands, but at a computer somewhere as they crunch different algorithms and weigh the costs of their players who can reject or accept the current qualifying offer for the 2020 season. This article will focus on the six players from the five different American League teams. All but one player tasted postseason experience this year, so for them and their teams, they must also consider that. So, are these players worth $17.9MM to their clubs? We will look at the numbers and the production to arrive at the correct answers.
Jose Abreu- 1B/DH, Chicago White Sox
Previous Contracts– Jose Abreu has made a total of $68,825,000 in total for the six years he has been in MLB, all with the White Sox. He has never made more than $16MM per season. The qualifying offer would give him a one year contract at his highest pay. The White Sox and Abreu are supposedly working on a long term extension.
What has he done? This past season in 634 at-bats, he managed 180 hits, 33 home runs, 123 RBI’s (which lead the American League) with a 2.4 WAR while batting .284. His career numbers are pretty much right in line with his 2019 numbers.
What does he mean to his team? He is the leader of a team of developing youngsters. He has been the only consistent force throughout the entirety of this rebuild. Abreu provides some familiarity and consistency, which is not quantifiable with a number but may mean more.
Prediction- The White Sox will extend him the qualifying offer, but the White Sox will ultimately sign him to a 3 or 4-year contract extension before the season starts.
Jake Odorizzi- RHP, Minnesota Twins
Previous Contracts- Jake Odorizzi has been in the league for six years. In the first three years, he received the league minimum. Then for the next 3; $4.1MM, $6.3MM, and $9.5MM. If he is paid the $17.9MM qualifying offer, it will be roughly only $3.5MM less than he has received his entire career.
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What has he done? This past season he was 15-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 30 starts. Odorizzi only pitched in 159 innings. Jake has never won more than 11 games in a season, and even that season (2014), he lost 13 games. He has yet to turn 30 and does own a 983 to 355 (2.76:1) career strikeout to walk ratio.
What does he mean to his team? That is hard to say, Odorizzi has only been a Twin for two years and has gone 22-17. The Twins do need pitching, and he is controllable. The biggest question is if the Twins are willing to double his 2019 salary with the qualifying offer. They made the playoffs in 2019, but where are they going to allocate their funds, considering they are more a small market team.
Prediction-The Twins do not offer him the qualifying offer but continue to try to sign him to a more manageable longer contract.
J.D. Martinez- DH/Outfielder, Boston Red Sox
Previous Contracts– Before we go too far, understand that the only reason Martinez is on this list is because he has an opt-out clause. He would be turning down three years and $66MM guaranteed money from Boston if he did. In the last two years, he has been paid over $23MM per season. If he does opt out, he is not going to sign for the qualifying $17.9MM.
What has he done? Well, lets put it this way, last year was a down year for him and yet he batted .304 with 174 hits and 105 RBI’s. He is limited in the outfield, so if he becomes available, his suitors are limited to American League teams.
What does he mean to his team? It depends on what the Red Sox plans are for the 2020 season. Will Boston continue to spend money and chase another championship, or will they reduce their payroll? If they decide to cut, more players than Martinez may be expendable.
Prediction- Martinez will not opt out and will remain a Red Sox for the next 3 years.
Gerrit Cole- RHP- Houston Astros
Previous Contracts- He has made $25.5MM in his 6 year career in total.
What has he done? This season Cole has won 20 games in the regular season. In his two years in Houston, he has gone 35-10. Gerrit has pitched over 200 innings each of those seasons and had over 275 strikeouts in each of those two seasons. Without plastering this section with a bunch of eye-popping numbers, he is one of the top 5 pitchers today, and he looms large in game 5 of the World Series.
Do you want an explanation of the Qualifying Offer is and how it effects both the players and the teams? Overtime Heroics gives you one right here!
What does he mean to his team? Look at the win total above. If Houston can’t resign him they will need to sign two pitchers to replace him.
Prediction- They will offer him the qualifying offer. He won’t accept it, but if Houston loses him, at least they will get compensation for him.
Didi Gregorius- SS, New York Yankees
Previous Contracts- Didi has been in the league for seven years. He has made just under $30MM, and last year was his highest paid year at $11.75MM.
What has he done? Not much this past season due mostly to the fact that he underwent Tommy John surgery and only played in 82 games for the New York Yankees. Still, Gregorius hit 16 homers, drove in 61 runs, and had a .441 slugging percentage. Don’t forget, in his previous two seasons with the Yankees, Gregorius put up some terrific numbers. The left-handed-hitting shortstop compiled 50 doubles, 52 home runs, 172 RBIs and a .812 OPS during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
What does he mean to his team? Not as much as you may think considering his numbers, but there is a good and inexpensive reason why. The Yankees have Gleyber Torres, who’s a natural shortstop, and D.J. LeMahieu, who’s likely to get some votes for the American League MVP. These two capable middle infielders, combined with Miguel Andujar and Gio Urshela give the Yankees a formidable group of infielders, making Gregorius expendable.
Prediction- The Yankees do not offer him the qualifying offer in fear that he will except it and the Yankees will have 5 qualified infielders, one who is expensive at $17.9MM.
Aroldis Chapman- LHP, New York Yankees
Previous Contracts- First, like J.D above Aroldis has an opt out clause in his current contract. If he selects to opt out, he will be giving up a guarenteed $34.4MM over the next 2 seasons or just under the qualifying offer per year at $17.2MM.
What has he done? Chapman was awarded 2019 American League reliever of the year. Chapman has always had close to a 3 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio. He has saved over 30 games in 6 of the 9 years he has been in the league. He has only had more losses than wins in 2 of his seasons. Chapman’s tenure in New York can be described as dominant. He has the lowest FIP (2.31) for a relief pitcher since 2017, ranks in the top 10 in K/9 (14.01), and top 5 in HR/9 (0.45). He ranks 5th in MLB in saves with 91. Aroldis has been consistent his entire career, and last year with the Yankees was no different.
What does he mean to his team? He means quite a bit to the Yankees. They have an above average bullpen. However, only Betances has closing experience, and Dellin is on the DL.
Prediction- Chapman will opt out. The Yankees will counter by offering him the qualifying offer, but he will reject it and test free agency.
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