In a move that wasn’t unexpected, Mark Trumbo rejected the Baltimore Orioles’ qualifying offer. Trumbo is turning down a guaranteed $17.2 million contract for one year because both he and his agent feel that he can get a longer term deal on the open market. And who can really blame him.
As I said, this wasn’t unexpected. The Orioles would like to keep Trumbo, and in a rare example of a player showing a bit of his had Trumbo said at the end of the season that he’d like to stay. Obviously he doesn’t want to stay long enough to take the qualifying offer. And again, nobody can really blame him.
The Orioles of course will get a compensatory draft pick from whichever team signs Trumbo, assuming that it isn’t them. However here’s a word of caution on that for you; don’t assume it’s a first round pick. In general, yes it will be a first round pick. However the rule is that the draft pick is the signing team’s best possible pick.
So let’s say for example that Trumbo happens to sign with a team that’s already signed someone else as a free agent who had a qualifying offer tied to them. That team would have already surrendered their first round pick for the first free agent, meaning that Trumbo would cost them their second round pick as a compensatory pick to the O’s.
So that’s something that Dan Duquette needs to monitor. It’s not necessarily a huge point per se, however it goes without saying that you’d rather have an extra first rounder than second rounder. So if a couple of free agents are already gone and the same teams are sniffing around Trumbo, that might make the Orioles consider offering a contract.
At the end of the day, the expectation is that Trumbo will be elsewhere in 2017. And that’s not necessariy a knock on the Orioles in terms of not being willing to spend the money. Funds aren’t unlimited, and it’s unclear if Trumbo can duplicate what he did this year moving forward.
Furthermore, would Orioles fans want Trumbo back if that made it more difficult to keep the likes of Machado and Schoop in the future? All of these contracts add up, and the fact is that it’s fair to say that the team can’t keep and pay everyone. That aside, Trumbo is now officially a free agent – as if he wasn’t before. Teams now know that there’s an additional price of a draft choice attached to him. So in theory, the Orioles won’t be left out in the cold if he walks.