The Padres offered outfielder Justin Upton a qualifying offer on Friday. That comes as no surprise.
When Upton inevitably rejects the one-year, $15.8 million offer the Friars will have a chance to negotiate a long-term deal with him, but so will every other big league team. So odds are the Padres will be getting a compensatory 1st-round draft pick for their All-Star left-fielder.
However, Upton is not the only one to whom the Padres extended a deal. Starting Pitcher Ian Kennedy was also given the qualifying offer, creating quite the interesting situation.
Kennedy is coming off a year where he started terrible, then got pretty darn good, then fell off again. He finished giving up more than four runs a game with a 9-15 record, not exactly the kind of numbers that typically get you nearly $16 million bucks a season.
With names like Zack Greinke, David Price and Jordan Zimmermann on the market it’s likely Kennedy will not be the first choice of most teams in free agency, so he’ll seriously consider the offer and hope to have a great season to build value working into next year’s off-season. If he rejects it, then Ian enters the free agent waters hoping for a multi-year deal on the open market with no guarantees the total value reaches that level.
Qualifying offers are almost never accepted. Actually, that is not correct. They are never accepted. No player has ever signed a qualifying offer sheet. This year a record 20 players were extended qualifying offers, and all of them are expected to say thanks, but no thanks … except Kennedy. Several factors come into play here.
If a player who received a qualifying offer chooses to sign elsewhere, their former teams get a compensatory pick in this year’s MLB Draft, which is one reason the Padres would extend the offer. In addition, the team that signs the player has to give up a Draft pick as compensation. So ask yourself this … is Ian Kennedy, a pitcher at Petco Park who had a WAR (Wins Above Replacement) of a paltry 0.8 in 2015, really worth a long-term deal in the $20 million range PLUS a draft pick?
Most likely not, so it’s going to be tough for Ian to get a big pay day outside of San Diego which makes the guaranteed $15.8 million awfully enticing. Keep in mind, Kennedy’s agent is Scott Boras so odds are he’ll take the free agent route.
All the players who received a qualifying offer have until November 13 to make a decision. Let the Hot Stove season begin!