The Colorado Rockies qualified right-handed closer Greg Holland on Monday. Earlier in the day he formally rejected a $15 million player option which was attached to the deal he signed last winter. By qualifying Holland, the club has a $17.4 million one-year deal on the table for the closer and he will have 10 days to decide if he will take the money or hit the open market.
The qualifying offer has changed this season as the new collective bargaining agreement agreed to last winter is now in place. Under the new rules, a player who has been issued a qualifying offer during a past free agent stint is no longer eligible to receive another one, players now have 10 days instead of five to make their decision and most notably the draft pick attached to the qualifying offer isn't a straightforward first-round pick and a loss of a first for the team signing the player (unless the pick was in the top 10.) The Rockies were the last affected by this rule losing their 11th overall pick in 2017 by signing Ian Desmond.
Here are the new rules as pointed by MLBTR and how they would affect the Rockies if Holland were to reject the qualifying offer and sign elsewhere:
If the team was not a revenue sharing recipient or the free agent signed for less than $50MM guaranteed, the team will receive a compensatory pick after Competitive Balance Round B, which takes place just prior to the draft’s third round. (The Competitive Balance process itself underwent some changes in the new CBA.) This is essentially the “default” compensation for teams losing QO free agents since most teams won’t meet either of the following two sets of criteria.
If the team losing the player received revenue sharing in the previous season and the free agent signed a deal at least $50MM in guaranteed money, the team will receive a compensatory pick after the first round of the draft. According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi (hat tip to MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince), 16 teams are revenue-sharing recipients and could qualify for the higher pick — the Astros, Athletics, Braves, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Indians, Mariners, Marlins, Orioles, Padres, Pirates, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Royals and Twins. (It’s worth noting the new CBA specifies Oakland will be gradually phased out as a revenue-sharing recipient over the next two seasons.)
If the team paid the luxury tax in the previous season, the team will receive a compensatory pick after the fourth round of the draft.
And this is how the new rules would effect the team signing Holland:
If the signing team received revenue sharing and didn’t exceed the luxury tax threshold in the previous season, the team only has to surrender its third-highest pick in the next draft. If this team signed more than one QO free agent, it would give up its fourth-highest pick for the second signing, fifth-highest pick for a third signing, etc.
If the signing team contributes to revenue sharing but didn’t exceed the luxury tax threshold in the previous season, the team gives up its second-highest draft pick and $500K of international bonus pool money in the next int’l signing period (which opens on July 2). If this team signed more than one QO free agent, it would give up its third-highest pick for the second signing and so forth, though it doesn’t appear as if that team would lose any additional international pool money would also be involved.
If the signing team paid the luxury tax in the previous season, the team gives up its second-highest and fifth-highest draft picks and $1MM of international bonus pool money in the next int’l signing period (which opens on July 2). According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, if this team signed more than one QO free agent, it would give its up third-highest and sixth-highest picks for the second signing, and so forth. Five teams look to be paying the luxury tax this season — the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Tigers and Nationals.
In sum, teams will now be less penalized for going after free agents who received a qualifying offer.
Holland is going to turn 32 this offseason. He was terrific from Opening Day until early August as he posted a 1.56 ERA in 40.1 innings. But he struggled at the end, including in the Rockies' Wildcard loss, as he had an 8.47 ERA in his final 17 regular-season innings.
Holland struggled with walks all season after coming off of Tommy John surgery in 2016 but was still one of the top NL Saves getters.
Last year closer Mark Melancon nabbed a then-record-setting $62 million deal for four-years. Holland is the same age as Melancon was last season.
Holland is just one of the trio of relievers departing for the open market in Colorado. Lefty Jake McGee and righty Pat Neshek are free agents (McGee was not qualified, Neshek was not eligible.)
The Rockies also declined to qualify Carlos Gonzalez, who is a free agent. If he signs elsewhere Colorado will receive nothing for the 32-year-old outfielder that OPS'd .762 in 2017 but had a scorching hot September.
Colorado also declined their $2.5 million club option for utility infielder Alexi Amarista, he will receive a $150K buyout and head back into the free-agent market for the second straight year. He appeared in 96 games and totaled 176 plate appearances, giving Bud Black some versatility as Amarista saw time at second base, shortstop, third base and in all three outfield spots.
Finally, Noel Cuevas was added to the 40-man roster. He OPS'd .840 in 128 games last season at Triple-A. The right-handed hitting outfielder just turned 26 and was the PTBNL in the Juan Nicasio trade with the Dodgers.