A few days ago, over at FanGraphs, I wrote about the new free-agent qualifying offers. The long and short of it is that the Elias free-agent rankings are gone, and if you want to get compensation for losing a free agent, you first have to make him a qualifying offer. The offer is a one-year contract equal to the average of the league's top 125 salaries. If the player accepts the offer, he is a signed player for the next season. If the player declines the offer, or signs elsewhere before officially declining the offer, the original team receives draft-pick compensation. Simple! It is actually all very simple. I don't think that it's perfect, but the old way was like dressing your refrigerator in a monkey costume. "This clearly doesn't make any sense."
Recently four 2012 Seattle Mariners officially became free agents. Kevin Millwood became a free agent, Miguel Olivo became a free agent, Oliver Perez became a free agent, and George Sherrill became a free agent. We've learned on Friday that none of these free agents were extended qualifying offers. This is because extending qualifying offers to any of those four players would've been pretty fuckin moronic. It would've been probably the least justifiable move in Seattle Mariners history.
Last year Millwood signed a minor-league contract, and his major-league salary was $1 million. He is 37 years old and before too much more time he will be 38 years old, because we treat age as a step function. Some players have been extremely effective as 38-year-olds. Millwood is coming off a below-average ERA and a season in which he had twice as many losses as wins. Why would the Mariners offer Millwood a year and $13.3 million? That would be insane! That would be completely fuckin insane!
Olivo is 34 years old and last year he made $3.5 million while posting a .239 OBP. I didn't have to look that up, by the way; I have that memorized. There are certain Mariners statistics I might never be able to forget. I'll never forget that, in his final season, Griffey didn't go deep. I'll never forget that, in 1995, Randy Johnson went 18-2. And I might never forget that Miguel Olivo posted a .239 OBP in 2012 after beginning the year as the team's starting catcher. The Mariners turned down a $3 million 2013 club option. Why would they follow that by offering Olivo a year and $13.3 million? That is more than another $10 million! No thank you!
After signing a minor-league contract, Perez joined the Mariners and posted a 2.12 ERA. The Yankees made a qualifying offer to Rafael Soriano and out of their bullpen he posted a 2.26 ERA. So, a qualifying offer to Perez then, right? Wrong!! Perez didn't even throw 30 innings! He wasn't a closer and while he wasn't bad, he wasn't really that good! His repertoire is that of a probable lefty specialist and his market value might be one or two million dollars. More than 13 million dollars? Get out of here!
And Sherrill. In Sherrill's first game of the season, he faced three batters and he allowed three hits. In Sherrill's second game of the season, he faced seven batters and allowed three hits and a walk. Two of those six combined hits were dingers. In Sherrill's third game of the season, nothing happened, because Sherrill's third game of the season didn't exist. The strongest argument you can make in George Sherrill's favor is that he allowed 1/21sth as many runs as Felix Hernandez. If advancing that argument, you should put it differently, because I don't know if "1/21sth" is a thing. Also if advancing that argument you should irradiate yourself and curl up and die already. So you're the guy who wants to guarantee George Sherrill one year and $13.3 million? I ought to punch you in the face!
Four 2012 Mariners have become free agents, not counting Kawasaki, and none of the four were extended qualifying offers because that would've been one motherfuck of a horrible decision. Presumably this doesn't come down to a keystroke. Presumably there's a whole form one has to fill out, maybe for each individual player. So presumably a qualifying offer can't just be extended by accident. It's not like Jack Zduriencik could hit the wrong button and end up having to pay Oliver Perez more than 13 million dollars. There will be none of that, because if there were some of that, it would make not any sense. Not any single lick of sense.