The Dodgers on Friday made qualifying offers of $17.9 million to both Yasmani Grandal and Hyun-Jin Ryu. The pair now have 10 days to accept or reject the terms, either returning to the team or becoming free agents.
Accepting the deal would mean playing for the Dodgers on a one-year contract, rejecting it would give the Dodgers a compensatory pick in the 2019 MLB Draft between the second and third rounds.
The pick would be after the first round if the Dodgers were a revenue sharing team. But since they’re not, the pick is sandwiched between the second and third.
Ryu is the more interesting of the two in terms of likelihood of acceptance. The lefty had an excellent year surrounding a three-month trip to the disabled list due to a groin injury. Ryu was 7-3 with a 1.97 ERA, striking out 89 in 82 1⁄3 innings while walking only 15.
The key for Ryu is that a team might take a chance on the fact that the 31-year-old had major shoulder surgery, missing all of 2015 and most of 2016. It’s not much of a risk for the Dodgers who have the money to spend and won’t be drastically impacted if Ryu should choose to reject.
Grandal on the other hand, is certain to reject the offer and will become a free agent for the first time in his career. Sure, the offer is $10 million more than he made in 2018. But Grandal would be a big upgrade to a number of teams on the open market.
The switch-hitting backstop hit .241/.349/.466 with 49 extra-base hits, including 24 homers during the regular season. Despite his shoddy glove work during the postseason and 64 passed balls over his seven-year career, Grandal has been one of the top five framers behind the plate since joining the Dodgers.
Grandal could still come back to the Dodgers if he rejects the qualifying offer, but it’s not likely. Los Angeles has a bevy of catching prospects in the minor leagues, with Will Smith (23) and Keibert Ruiz (20) on the verge of being able to contribute.
The best-case scenario for the Dodgers would be Grandal accepting the offer and serving as a one-year stopgap to the talent behind him. Don’t count on that happening though.