Shortstop Stephen Drew and designated hitter/first baseman Kendrys Morales are both still without a team. Their agent Scott Boras is not happy about the situation and the qualifying offer system that appears to have hindered their job prospects as free agents.
If Drew and Morales wait until after the amateur draft in June to sign, their respective deals would not cost their new team a compensatory draft pick. That might actually give them a chance to sign a multi-year deal, though at the cost of losing a chunk of this season. This week Boras indicated that both players might be willing to wait to sign deals (from ESPN.com):
Like any players, they want to play baseball. But they’re also looking at the long-term aspect of their careers. This system has placed them not in free agency, but it’s placed them in a jail…
…Everybody talks about these players turning down these [one-year] qualifying offers like they’re village idiots. The reason is, they don’t want to be in the same position again next year. If I’m a good player, I’m going to take the prospect of free agency.”
Jail seems like a dramatic description of a scenario where a guy like Drew could have made $14 million this season and about the same next season, even if it does make it difficult for him to get long term deals with guaranteed money. Nevertheless, if these guys are determined to get out of the “cycle” of qualifying offers and one-year deals, waiting until June is probably the plan.
One final note: in calling out the injustice of the Q.O. system, Scott Boras said that the “integrity of the game” is at stake here. Because of course Scott Boras did.