2016 Qualifying Offer Decisions

Discussion in 'Houston Astros' started by Snake Diggit, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    The decision for whether or not to submit a Qualifying Offer to potentially recover draft pick compensation for their various pending free agents this offseason is shaping up to be very interesting. Houston has 6 pending free agents: C Jason Castro, IF Luis Valbuena, OF Carlos Gomez, OF Colby Rasmus, RHP Doug Fister, and RHP Scott Feldman. RHP Pat Neshek will likely have his option declined and become a free agent but he is not a candidate for a QO. It may be oversimplifying it, but conventional wisdom is that any player who projects to put up star quality performance the next season (say 3+ fWAR) would be a no brainer to receive a QO, while any player who doesn't project to be a viable everyday major leaguer (say at least 1.5 fWAR) would be a no brainer not to be extended an offer. At this point I think it's safe to say that Feldman falls into the latter category, as he has been relegated to a bullpen role, and even as a starter he didn't project to put up 1.5+ fWAR. But the other 5 players currently fall in the middle. Assessing each:

    Castro: Castro will be 30 next season. He has one stellar season on his resume (a 4.4 fWAR 2013 in which he was an All-Star), but has otherwise been fairly average and has an injury history. He's currently projected to put up ~1.8 WAR, which looks light, but he is also in the Top 10 in the league at his position. He has an above average to excellent defensive profile and has been about league average with the bat. The free agent market will likely feature 2 other QO catchers (Weiters and Ramos). Castro has spent his entire career with Houston and is a good clubhouse guy. He doesn't appear willing to offer a hometown discount. Houston has Evan Gattis who they could deploy as an everyday option if Castro signed elsewhere. All that considered, I would peg the odds of a QO at >50%, since I think he could net a 3-4 year deal at $10m/yr on the open market. I don't think he'd accept a QO. But it's very very close. A poor or injury riddled 2nd half likely changes things.

    Valbuena: Valbuena will be 31 next season. He doesn't have a star level season on his resume and was a bench player for most of his career. He's a versatile defender who can play all over the infield and has shown above average power the last few years. He appears to be a good clubhouse guy as wel. He's on pace for ~2.0 fWAR this season. Houston has Bregman and Moran who might represent a cheaper, better upgrade at 3B and presumably the 1B job is now AJ Reed's. Barring a major 2nd half breakout, I don't see Houston offering him a QO.

    Gomez: Gomez has several superstar seasons on his resume and will also be 31 next season. He has shown signs of decline and/or nagging injuries and is not a fan favorite. He essentially had to be demoted to the minors earlier this year after a truly horrific start. The stint worked, as he has been stellar since his return. Just 12 short months ago he would have projected as a $100M player and a surefire QO candidate. Houston has 2/3 of their OF as pending free agents and while there is some talent in the upper minors, there aren't any surefire MLB ready prospects waiting in the wings. The FA crop of OF is better than at other positions, but with a good2nd half Gomez could position himself for a very sizable long term contract. Assuming Gomez continues to play well thru this season, he will get a QO and will reject it.

    Rasmus: Rasmus will be 30 next season and projects for 2.3fWAr this year. He previously accepted a QO, perhaps unexpectedly. He seems to be an ideal clubhouse fit and likes Houston. He's been fairly inconsistent year to year, but has several really good years on his resume and has been an above average everyday Of overall through his career. This is another close one. If he plays well and stays healthy, I think he will be given and accept a QO. I also wouldn't be surprised to see a 2 year extension reached that will allow him to finish his career in Houston.

    Fister: Fister came to Houston on a $8M redemption contract this past offseason. He has been a great bargain, going 8-4 with a 3.36 ERA. However, he's only on pace for 1.4 fWAR and his peripheral numbers aren't great. He will be 33 next season. The free agent crop of SP if the weakest in recent history, so with a good 2nd half, Fister could be in a position to be one of the top 3 arms available. All that combined with the slight chance he could return to his former glory means I think Houston will extend a QO and he'll reject it.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Contributing Member

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    I'm not sure what the QO system will be like after this season. Expect the Astros to give Gomez (provided he stays healthy) QO if the QO system is more or less the same as it is now. I'd also expect Astros to offer for one of Valbuena, Castro, and Rasmus, but not all three. If QO becomes a 2 year commitment, Gomez would be a questionable and others would be a no.

    I doubt Fister gets offered a QO.
     
  3. bobrek

    bobrek Vamos Los Astros

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    These decisions may be easier on August 1. :) If the Astros fall out of the race (doubtful) then I suspect all those guys are viable trade candidates.

    If the SP free agent class continues to be week, I could see them offering the QO to Fister betting that he'd opt out and they'd get a draft pick if he signs.
     
  4. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    Too early for this discussion, IMO, but I'll go ahead.

    Castro - Likely. Having a very good season and has had a decent career. Astros have no clear replacement (unless Gattis becomes the starter), so I think they are willing to risk his acceptance. I think he turns it down in search of a long term deal in what will likely be his best chance to get one.

    Feldman - No. He would accept at his age, and $16+M is too much for a number 5 starter/reliever.

    Valbuena - Doubtful. He is having a great season, but he'd have to post an OPS over .800 before I think the team considers it.

    Rasmus - Doubtful. He accepted last year, so you have to assume he would again. He's a solid player, but not one you want to pay that kind of money. He could be back on a short term deal though.

    Gomez - 50/50 at this point. He'll be a no brainer if he finishes strong, but right now he doesn't look like that kind of player.

    Fister - Likely, if he can duplicate his first half, but I consider that doubtful, so all together I think it is about 40/60. He's kind of like Gallardo last year, and he only got 2/$22M.
     
  5. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    if any of those five players post a 2+ WAR, they should get a QO.

    WAR for less than half of the season:

    1.9 Rasmus
    1.7 Fister
    1.1 Valbuena
    1.0 Castro
    -0.3 GoGo

    All but GoGo are projecting a 2+ full season WAR.
     
  6. cangrejero51

    cangrejero51 Member

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    I think Fister will get the QO because the starting pitching Free agency is very weak but we have to wait the final numbers at the end of the year.

    This is a great question, i still think we need to see the final numbers but right now i would offer Castro, Fister and Gomez.

    I like Valbuena a lot, but we have Moran and Bregman and next year both should be ready to play.
    Rasmus is an interesting option as we don't have a good OF in the minors to take the job and Rasmus hits with RISP and is a plus defender with a great arm. As a number 6 hitter this guy can help many clubs, including ours.
     
  7. cangrejero51

    cangrejero51 Member

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    Yes, but this year only Hellickson and Fister are pitching good, so the price could go up because of it.
     
  8. Snake Diggit

    Snake Diggit Member

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    I agree it's really difficult to speculate on this with 1/2 a season remaining and not knowing at all what the parameters for the QO will be. But I was bored.
     
  9. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Contributing Member

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    While Gomez has had a horrible start this year, I expect he'll project for more than 2 WAR in 2017. I expect Valbuena, Rasmus, and Castro to be worth about 2 WAR this season and about the same as next year (I default to fWAR which has Rasmus slightly lower). I don't see Astros putting out more than 2 QOs assuming system stays about the same.
     
  10. DaChamp

    DaChamp Member

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    The Rangers made Gallardo a qualifying offer. He would have gotten quite a bit more than 2/$22M if the Rangers hadn't made the offer. Orioles had to relinquish the 14th pick in the draft to sign him.
     
  11. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    Way too early..:but

    If you offer to Fister you need to expect him to accept

    Even as he is pitching now teams won't likely want to give up a pick for a guy like him. With guys like Feliz, Devenski, Musgrove, Paulino, Martes, Rodgers who could be rotation options by next year, doubt they would take that chance

    Castro I bet they try to extend and keep pairing with Gattis
     
  12. kaleidosky

    kaleidosky Contributing Member

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    too early for me to even consider.

    But as a general principle, I do expect the team to find a way to retain or be well-compensated for Castro given the catching market, his defensive reputation, and his reasonable and resurgent plate performance this year
     
  13. No Worries

    No Worries Contributing Member

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    You might be right but ...

    Fister certainly would want to sign a 3/4 year deal versus a 1 year QO deal.

    Crazy deals are made during FA, so I can not rule a 3/4 year Fister deal out.
     
  14. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    That is exactly what makes his case relevant. He had a very good season based on traditional stats, and very mediocre based on advanced stats. He is a strong case of what to expect for Fister.
     
  15. cangrejero51

    cangrejero51 Member

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    I did not like Gallardo as FA and much less lose a pick for him.
     
  16. The Beard

    The Beard Contributing Member

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    Yea, but it's the 3/4 year deal PLUS losing a first round pick

    I know the FA starters market is bare next year, but we saw teams balk at giving up picks for these guys this past year, leading a guy like Desmond to lose out on millions and millions of dollars....I'm just saying if i'm the Astros and I offer Fister, I damn well better be ok with him taking it
     
  17. Joe Joe

    Joe Joe Contributing Member

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    Gallardo got 2 years for 22 million. That's not much more than a one-year QO and Gallardo's FIP was a half a run less than Fister's over the last two years. Fister doesn't have a reputation or track record as a weak contact guy that generates a lower ERA than FIP. I doubt Fister can do better than the QO.
     
  18. cardpire

    cardpire Member

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    they won't extend Rasmus a QO, so there's a chance that, if they don't extend Gomez one either, they could extend Valbuena one, and play Bregman in LF
     
  19. cangrejero51

    cangrejero51 Member

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    tony Kemp is another option at LF next year. Now, if we go to the playoffs, is going to be difficult not to bring Rasmus back because i think he will help this team big time.
     
  20. juicystream

    juicystream Contributing Member

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    Their xFIP & SIERA were much closer to each other last season. Fister generates more weak contact than Gallardo. I agree Fister should take the QO if offered, but may not. He may go looking for a 3 year $30M contract, which would probably be hard to come by, but if he keeps a low enough ERA, I think some team would stupidly do it.
     
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