|photo taken from mlb.com/indians article|
according to Jordan Bastian's article on mlb.com/indians, Indians President of Baseball Operations Chris Antonetti explained in a conference call, "ultimately,
the first week of the offseason, as we looked at our path ahead, it wasn't the best decision to potentially allocate [$17.9] million dollars right now."
even though Michael does not have to choose between accepting or rejecting the qualifying offer, let me describe how this works anyway in case you're unfamiliar. first of all, a player can only receive one qualifying offer in their career. so since Michael did not get one from the Indians, he'll be eligible for a QO at the end of his next contract, with whomever and for whatever salary that may be. this year's $17.9 million figure is the average salary of the league's 125 highest-paid players. anyone who receives a QO by 5 pm ET today has 10 days, until November 12 at 5 pm ET, to accept or reject it.
had the Tribe extended the offer and Michael turned it down, the Indians would have received a draft pick depending on Michael's new deal. this is purely hypothetical, but here is how it would have shaken out: had Michael signed with another club for at least $50 million, the Indians would have gotten a pick between the first round and Competitive Balance Round A of the 2019 MLB draft. on the other hand, had Michael signed for under $50 mill, the Indians would have gotten a draft pick after Competitive Balance Round B, which follows the second round. (source: Anthony Castrovince's article on mlb.com.) now, it doesn't matter what type of contract Michael signs because the Indians receive absolutely nothing.
the cold hard fact is that since 2012, 68 of the 73 players to receive a qualifying offer turned it down. truthfully, a lot of teams who extend the offer do so not to extend the relationship, but with the belief that the player won't take it and then they'll end up with an extra draft pick. (source: Anthony Castrovince's article on mlb.com.) based on the stats, i saw no risk involved in extending a QO to Brant and don't agree with the Tribe's choice.👎
Michael just put together one of his strongest seasons and proved to the haters and doubters that he can stay healthy and play at a high level. dude is up for the Players Choice Awards' AL Comeback Player of the Year Award, after all. he's going to be a highly sought after free agent. and considering the rumors of what kind of deals other teams are said to be interested in offering Michael, there was ZERO CHANCE Michael was going to accept this qualifying offer. you'd think the Indians would at least want some kind of draft pick compensation in return for Michael.
after this news broke, i assumed their line of thinking was to not extend the offer because perhaps they'd rather attempt to bring Michael back for less than $18 million a year instead. and that seems to be partially correct, but it's not gonna happen. Spotrac.com gives Michael a market value worth four years for $77,180,292 for christ's sake. boy, is this team stupid. and yeah, i'm pissed.😠
Antonetti spoke with Michael this morning to let him know the Indians still want to bring him back. here's the full quote from Bastian's article: "i talked to Michael this morning and reiterated that. that interest is undoubtable. we could not have any more respect for any individual than we have for Michael. he's the guy that epitomizes, as i've shared before, all of the things we look for in a player. he's exceedingly productive on the field, he defines professionalism in the clubhouse and he's an extraordinary teammate. the interest and desire is there. what we will have to work through is can we make the pieces fit? how, with the balance of our roster and all the other decisions we have to make? and Michael will have to assess how we fit within what his market might be."
meanwhile, Michael and his agent will be laughing at the Indians' proposal compared to what other teams will offer.🤣 omg, if i was Brant, and Antonetti told me they couldn't give me an almost $18 million QO because they were scared i'd take it--because that's essentially what he said--i'd have been like, "lose my phone number, we're done here." but that's just me.
it'd be one thing if the Indians would have extended the QO and Michael rejected it. okay, at least they tried. but this makes it look like they have no money, or else just prefer other players and give zero Fs about Michael despite everything they previously publicly admitted about wanting the veteran on this team beyond 2018.
the article Bastian wrote for mlb.com/indians confirmed as much. he revealed that the Indians felt the QO was too steep a price to risk locking in so early in the offseason. (yet they had no problem extending a $17.4 million QO last year to Carlos Santana when they had similar financial constraints.) Bastian noted that given the uncertainty in their outfield, it was possible that Michael could have received the qualifying offer, but then acknowledged the Indians are still sorting through where Jason Kipnis (who's set to earn a ridiculous $14.7 million in 2019) will fit. if Kip is not traded, he might have to play left field. so, they're basically picking Kip over Michael. or maybe it's more like they're picking Yandy Diaz over everybody.
JB went on about how the Indians would like to give Diaz the opportunity to play 3rd base, which means Jose Ramirez would play 2nd base next year. and with Leonys Martin just signed to a one-year deal for 2019, Kip wouldn't be needed in center field, so he might have to shift to left. Bastian clarified the Indians' thinking as this: if Michael had gotten and accepted the $17.9 million QO, the team would be committed to $32.6 million for him and Kipnis. (is the contract they offered to Kip all those years ago Michael's fault, though? geez.) for the Indians, it's a hefty sum, especially because they're going to have more than $30 million added to its 2019 payroll due to arbitration and guaranteed contract raises and that limits their flexibility. not extending any QOs gives the team more time to weigh alternatives, explore trades, and continue dialogue with its free agents. but the bottom line is, the Indians still need outfielders and if they can't afford to retain Michael, then they're not going to be bringing in anybody better from free agency.
here's a question: do the Indians think Michael's just gonna wait around this offseason to see if they can trade Kipnis in order to free up money to re-sign him? i don't think so. if another team wants to sign Michael for a good deal, he's gonna sign on the dotted line without worrying if the Tribe can trade Kip or not at a later date. don't you think he'll want to know where he's playing as soon as possible? to find a new home and get himself and his family settled, etc.? like come on, Indians, you don't make any sense with your rationalizations. i bet Brant signs with a new team in December and the Indians will still be trying to dump Kipnis.
i hate to say it, but i'm pretty sure Michael was aware that his time in Cleveland was over as soon as the Indians were swept out of the American League Division Series on October 8. after that game, Michael met with reporters in the clubhouse to discuss (among other things) if he would return to the Tribe next year. "uh, we'll find out together," Michael said in a video on mlb.com/indians. "uh, i'm not sure, i mean, the game just ended. i got, i gotta sit down with my family and we'll make a decision and then we'll see what happens. i don't know."
his thoughts on the matter continued in this SportsTime Ohio twitter video. "i've thought about it. but at the same time, you know, i've got a lot of thinking to do. i've got my family to talk to. i've got these guys in this room to still talk to. and uh, then we'll make, we'll go from there. you never know what's going to happen in the offseason."
a video on the FOX Sports Ohio youtube channel also contained this statement from Michael: "this organization's in great hands. uh, you know, you look around this room, uh, they've got phenomenal leaders still, great players. uh, they're going to be good for a long time. uh, i hope to be a part of it."
on October 10, Antonetti and manager Terry Francona held their end of season media session. via Bastian's blog on bastian.mlblogs.com, Antonetti reflected on having a healthy Michael for the entire year. "i couldn't be any happier for Michael. we talk about what it means to be a good teammate and a great competitor and a great leader--Michael embodies all of those things. so, when we sat here last offseason talking about that difficult decision, we bet on a lot of those things. and we felt that even if Michael didn't come back to full health, he could still have a meaningful impact on our team. and what we were able to see this year is through Michael's hard work, all of the hours and hours he spent trying to get back healthy and his determination to come back and perform at a high level, he was able to go on and be a huge part of our team, play a ton and perform at a really high level. and i think that speaks directly to Michael's work ethic. he had a huge impact on our team. as we told him when we met with him yesterday, he and a couple other guys helped re-establish for us what it means to be a great teammate. because, it's always easy to be a good teammate when things are going well, but no matter what adversity Michael or Josh Tomlin or Cody Allen ever experienced over the past few years, they were just as good a teammate if not a better teammate when they were personally struggling than they were when things were going well. i think that speaks to their character and who they are as people."
Antonetti also admitted that the decision whether or not to extend a QO to any of the Indian's free agents would be "very challenging." "there's a ton of factors that we'll have to weigh. obviously their performance this year, their track record of performance, what we anticipate what the market might be, what our financial position might be. there are a lot of things that will go into those decisions. we'll take the next few weeks to work through that."
lies. they didn't factor "track record of performance" into the equation at all. the only thing the Indians seemed to have worked through is that they can't spend more than a couple million dollars on anybody this offseason. fantastic.
i don't doubt that Michael wants to stay in Cleveland, what with the familiarity, his longevity there, all the memories and friends he's made, and the fact that the team still has some amazing players and is likely headed to at least another ALDS next year. but, let's be real, the odds are not good. Michael finally gets his chance to explore free agency and he's gonna.
even if the Indians keep in contact with Michael this offseason and try to convince him to return to the team for peanuts because of their tight budget restrictions, some other team is going to call him with a bigger and better offer. i don't need to personally speak with Michael to know that he's probably seeking not just money, but also security (aka multiple contract years) in his next deal. and that's not coming from the Tribe, it's just not.
here's an excerpt i wrote in my recently posted Brantley News from October 2018 blog about why Michael wouldn't have taken the qualifying offer and why he's played his last game in an Indians uniform:
"looking at it from Michael's perspective, he just finished a full and healthy season and proved to the doubters that he can still play at a high level. so say he did accept the Tribe's QO for 2019, and then he suffers another freak injury. he won't have that safety net of a QO after 2019 to fall back on because a player can only get one qualifying offer in his career. not only that, but if he did have any type of injury in 2019, he won't get the long-term big money offers he's gonna get now in this offseason. and this isn't even taking into account his age. he'll be 32 next May and if some team wants him right now for three or four years guaranteed, he's probably going to take that as long as the salary is fair. so it makes no sense for Michael to agree to the qualifying offer. the only way he returns to the Indians is if they can negotiate a new, long-term deal that satisfies both parties and i don't see that getting done. there's no way the Indians can offer him what other teams will money-wise or security-wise. and that's the sad truth.😞 and i get it. he should take the money and take care of his family, even though him leaving Cleveland will break my heart.💔"
now i want to know how you're feeling. answer these questions in the comments:
did the Indians screw up by not extending the qualifying offer to Michael?
do you think Michael and the Indians will work out some kind of multi-year deal to bring him back?
do you think Michael gets a three or four year deal with another team and that his days with the Indians are over?
(my responses are YES, NO, and DEFINITELY.)
i'll be keeping my eyes glued to the rumor mill for news and info on which teams are pursuing Michael and posting everything on my twitter as it comes out, so be sure you're following me there @clevelandgirl23. and then of course, i'll post a blog about his new deal when he signs with his new team.😭😭😭 right now, i've heard the Philadelphia Phillies were scouting Michael at the end of the regular season, MLB Trade Rumors predicts Michael goes to the Atlanta Braves on a three-year, $45 million deal, and Sports Illustrated thinks Michael will go to the St. Louis Cardinals.
i gotta admit, this is really hard for me. as someone who's supposed to be both a Ride or Die Tribe fan and Michael's #1 fan, i'm now facing a conflict of interest. i'm so mad at the Indians for their continued cheapass-ness and it's not easy to keep supporting a team that operates in this way. and as much as i don't want Michael to leave the Indians, i do want what's best for him. so he has to leave and it breaks my heart.💔 i'm anxious to see what kind of deal his agent works out for him. get our boy the money he deserves, Kenny.💰
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