Discussing the eleven players that make up the qualifying offer bubble.
In the excitement and immersion of the playoffs, some extraneous news tidbits can go fly under one’s radar for a while. Things affecting teams not playing on into October do continue to happen during the month; they just get less attention. So it was that Jon Heyman reported, a week ago now, that the qualifying offer (QO, from now on) teams will need to offer free agents hitting the market next month in order to get a draft pick if they sign elsewhere will be $15.8 million. I didn’t catch wind of that news until Thursday afternoon.
It’s interesting information, though, and it makes for some interesting analysis. Consider the progression of the QO since its first winter in 2012:
The Orioles wrap up a bizarrely historic week with a start from Colby Lewis unlike any we've seen before.
The Orioles have had a bizarrely historic week. On Sunday, 1B/DH Chris Davis picked up the first pitching win by a position player in the American League since Rocky Colavito did it in 1968 against the Boston Red Sox. When the Sox sent Darnell McDonald (another former Oriole) to the mound after him in the top of the 17th inning, it was the first time both teams had used a position player as a reliever since 1925, and it was the first time two position players had gotten a decision since 1902. Until Davis's afternoon, a 0-8, 5K, GIDP day at the plate combined with a pitching win hadn't happened since 1905.
After starring for opposing teams in the Japan Series, Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada will try to adjust to life in Baltimore and last place, as the Orioles react to the new CBA by plugging their pitching holes with Asian imports.
On November 12th, 2011, as Major League Baseball recovers from one of the most exciting World Series in recent memory, Nippon Professional Baseball begins its own best-of-seven championship: the Japan Series.
Much like MLB, Japanese professional baseball has two leagues—the Central and the Pacific—and much like MLB, the champions of those respective leagues play each other to determine a final champion for the entire season. As NPB has only 12 teams compared to to MLB's 30, however, the playoffs are structured a bit differently; with only six teams per league, NPB does not bother with divisions or Wild Cards—the best three teams in each league make the playoffs, with the league's top seed getting a first-round bye. The second and third seeds play a best-of-three series, and the winner faces the first seed in a best-of-five “Climax Series” that's roughly analogous to MLB's League Championship Series. The winning club from each league's Climax Series is that league's champion and advances to the best-of-seven Japan Series to determine which is the best club in NPB. The Climax Series format was implemented first by the Pacific League in 2004 and then adopted by the Central League three years later. Previously, there had been no real postseason in NPB: the team with the best season record from the Central would play the team with the best season record from the Pacific in the Japan Series, and that was that.
How can Orioles fans expect the newly-signed Wei-Yin Chen to perform in the majors?
Wei-Yin Chen | Baltimore Orioles | SP | Signed as International Free Agent The Orioles have displayed a huge fascination with Asian pitchers this offseason. They inked Tsuyoshi Wada to a major-league deal last month, EunChulChoi to a minor-league deal earlier this month, dabbled in the HisashiIwakuma sweepstakes, and nearly signed Korean pitcher Chong Tae-Hyon before he decided to stay in Korea at the last minute. This week, the O’s signed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen.
The Numbers Chen is a 26-year-old Taiwanese-born pitcher who has pitched in Nippon Pro Baseball for the past several seasons and holds some nice upside, but not without comparable risk. Chen’s numbers fell off this season, even after accounting for the new ball that Nippon Pro Baseball put into effect. Chen’s Central League, as a whole, saw an ERA drop of 20 percent (slightly less than Yu Darvish’s Japanese League), due in large part to a huge home-run drop (just like we saw in the JL):