Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
RF Nelson Cruz
Last offseason, it was right-hander Kyle Lohse and center fielder Michael Bourn who were hurt by the new qualifying offer system. Both were forced to wait until late in the offseason to find new homes, and both signed for less than they were originally seeking.
This time around, it's a trio of position players who appear to have been hit hardest by the qualifying offer, as Nelson Cruz, Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales all remain on the market entering February.
Were it not for the draft pick compensation tied to him, coupled with the fact that he missed the final 50 games of last season serving a PED suspension, Cruz likely would have scored something in the neighborhood of the four-year, $60 million deal Curtis Granderson got from the New York Mets. Now, he'll likely have to settle for a one- or two-year deal and perhaps less than the $14.1 million he turned down.
When Jhonny Peralta signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in November, it made Stephen Drew the lone shortstop left on the market capable of serving as an everyday shortstop. However, as a slightly above-average option at best, no one has been willing to part with a pick or to pony up the kind of money he's looking for to sign Drew.
Morales may have been hurt most by the qualifying offer, as he could wind up having to wait until after the June draft, when teams no longer have to give up a pick to find a new home. He managed 23 home runs and 80 RBI while playing his home games in Safeco Field last year, but he's limited defensively and is best served as a DH.