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All MLB squads had until 5 p.m. Monday to make qualifying offers to their respective free agents, and the Boston Red Sox gave qualifying offers to Mike Napoli, Jacoby Ellsbury and , surprisingly enough, shortstop Stephen Drew. Jarrod Saltalamacchia will not receive a qualifying offer, according to WEEI.com.
All these deals are for one year and $14.1 million and must be accepted in order for the player to be back with the Red Sox for one more season. The money is determined by averaging the top 125 contracts of players in MLB. If the players reject the offer and then sign with another team, then the Red Sox will be guaranteed a compensation pick in the first or second round of the 2014 amateur draft. Even if a player rejects his qualifying offer, it does not preclude the Red Sox from negotiating different terms of a contract with their free agents.
It makes sense that both Mike Napoli and Jacoby Ellsbury received these qualifying offers because the Red Sox could see them signing bigger, longterm contracts, or would not mind a more expensive one-year deal for their services in 2014.
It also makes sense that Jarrod Saltalamacchia was not offered the same deal. He may be a quality offensive catcher and can manage a game well, but $14.1 million is a tad too much for the Red Sox to offer Salty for a single season. He only made $4.5 million in 2013 while batting .273 with 14 home runs and 65 RBI in 121 games.
There are other catchers, such as Brian McCann, who deserve that kind of money and Saltalamacchia was a great value at $4.5 million this past season. The Red Sox catching situation will be interesting to monitor in this offseason period. Ryan Lavarnway may even get a chance behind the plate to coincide with David Ross until the postseason, if the Red Sox can make it that far again in 2014.
However, it does not make sense that Drew received a qualifying offer. The shortstop made $9.5 million this season and had only one big hit in the postseason, a solo homer in Game 6 of the World Series after replacing his contacts prior to the contest.
The Red Sox already have a shortstop ready to start the 2014 season in Xander Bogaerts. Sure, Bogaerts played third base in most of his appearances in the postseason, but there is also Will Middlebrooks and his playing time in 2014 to consider. If Drew accepts this offer, then Bogaerts would slide over to third and Middlebrooks would have to play first, where he has yet to make an appearance in his major league career.
If Napoli comes back, then Middlebrooks would have nowhere to play.
Unless the Red Sox can find a sensible deal to send Middlebrooks somewhere for pitching talent, then the Red Sox definitely took too much of a chance by offering Drew the qualifying offer.