The Cleveland Indians will not be extending qualifying offers to either Mike Napoli or Rajai Davis, putting both on the open free agent market.
The Cleveland Indians may feature some new names next season, but there is a core in place that should be able to compete for years to come.
The offers would have been worth $17.2 million, so it is hard to blame the front office for deciding to let either player hit the free agent market. Once they do, the team can gauge the offers other teams are making, and go from there. Neither player will fetch anything close to what the QO would have been worth.
Both players are at the tail ends of their respective careers, although Napoli did set several career highs this season. His problem is his strikeouts, along with his lack of production in the World Series. Regardless, several teams would love to have him in the lineup for the power he provides.
Indians fans may be hung up on his World Series woes, but Napoli did make this offense better throughout the season. Others struggled in the Series too, and a win may have pushed his struggles to the side. For his contributions all year, along with his leadership, the Indians will likely match offers made by other teams unless they are too lucrative.
As for Davis, he gave fans one of the greatest moments in team history with his game-tying home run off Aroldis Chapman in Game 7.
Even though the Indians lost, that moment will live on forever in the minds of Indians fans. But Davis was not known for his power this season, but rather for his abilities on the bases. He finished with 43 stolen bases during the regular season, adding four in the postseason.
The $17.2 million QO would be too much to offer to Davis right now, but the Indians would be smart to match whatever any other team offers him this winter. Davis was a reliable member of the outfield all season, and finished with a solid .306 on-base percentage. He is 36 years old, but a one or two-year deal would be perfect for a player who can play everyday if Michael Brantley isn’t ready for 2017.
While the frustration of coming so close and falling short won’t go away for some time, the Indians received solid contributions from both Napoli and Davis all season. Both would be great assets on the team in 2017, so expect the Indians to go after both aggressively in free agency.