Sep 27, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Colorado Rockies right fielder Michael Cuddyer (3) in the dugout after he scored a run in the fourth inning of the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
In the two-year history of Major League Baseball’s qualifying offer system, no player who has been offered a QO has ever taken his team up on the deal. That will almost surely change in the next week, as the Colorado Rockies have extended the $15.3-million offer to outfielder Michael Cuddyer, reducing by one the number of free agent bats the Cincinnati Reds will have to consider this winter.
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While Cuddyer has had some fine seasons, this qualifying offer is a fairly outrageous development given that
a) He’ll be 36 years old in 2015
b) He played 49 games in 2014
c) He made “just” $10.5 million in 2014
With a career OPS of .813 and maintaining 20+ home run power (when he’s healthy), Cuddyer would have been an attractive one- or two-year pickup for the Reds as they seek to bolster an anemic offensive attack. Realistically, though, he was due for a steep pay DECREASE, rather than a 50% increase.
Even if Cuddyer somehow saw fit to reject the QO from the Rockies — which would be the only possible thing battier than the team’s making the offer in the first place — he would come at the cost of a draft pick for whichever other team signs him. Granted, the Reds were so bad in 2014 that their first-round pick is protected, but even a second-round selection is too much to surrender for Cuddyer at this point. Especially if he’s going to command more than $15 million.
Baseball is a wacky world, filled with funny money and bro science, but 15 large for Michael Cuddyer in 2014 is a great example of why the Rockies routinely hover near the bottom of the standings.