I don't think "everyone" is saying Salty will get a QO.
Also, it is not really $49M to spend. After all the arb signings and the Lester option, I have us at about $30M to spend and stay under the limit.
We could let Bailey go and trade Dempster to free up more room.
I'm saying if none of these guys come back it frees up this amount of money. The amounts noted are their contract amounts for this year so it does save that much money, to be used for arb increases and other players for sure but I didn't go into other potential savings either. We should have the cash to do a lot in 2014 assuming the above players move on, which is no doubt a huge assumption.
What if they all are offered QO and they all take the deals? We would have a problem then but it wouldn't kill us to go over the luxury tax limit. We've done it before and not breaking up this team might actually be a good thing.
We might get Miller back and Bailey and upgrade the pen right there. Breslow and Koji are all under contract still along with Tazawa and guys like Workman and Britton. We should be ok in the pen with what we have already, and the starters are all coming back. Essentially almost the entire pitching staff is coming back of the guys we care about. No Thornton or Hanrahan.
I get where you are coming from, but I prefer to look at it like we will have about $30-35M to spend- more if we go over the limit.
Here's what we will have next year if everyone walks and before anyone is signed as a FA or traded for (assuming we do not take Thornton's $6M option):
(Red indicates possible position move)
C: Ross, Lavarnway (Vazquez)
1B: Carp Middlebrooks/Nava/Papi/Lava
2B: Pedroia Holt
3B: Middlebrooks (Cechini) Bogaerts
LF: Nava/Gomes (Hassan) Carp
CF: Bradley (Kalish) Victorino
RF: Victorino (Brentz) Nava/Gomes
DH: Ortiz Gomes/Carp
SP: Buchholz, Lester, Peavy, Lackey, Doubront, Dempster (Webster/Wright/Ranaudo)
RP: Uehara, Tazawa, Breslow, Miller, Morales, Bailey, Workman (Britton/Villareal/DLR)
Of the FT positions listed here, I see these as the biggest weaknesses, in order:
2) CF (RF if Victorino moves to CF)
3) 1B (3B if Middlebrooks moves to 1B or SS if Bogey moves to 3B)
We may cut Bailey loose or trade him after arb. We may trade a SP like Dempster to free up salary and a ML pitching slot for a younger player. We may sign a catcher and trade Lava or start to groom him for a 1B/DH/3rd catcher role.
Ellsbury will get a QO, but I doubt we outbid the most desperate GM out there. (One comp pick)
Napoli should get a QO. We paid him $13M this year, and he gave us what we hoped for, especially in terms of his career high PAs and RBI totals.
Drew is a marginal QO player, but I really like the idea of Boggy at 3B and Middy at 1B. Carp would provide good protection in case one falters.
Salty will probably not need a QO to re-sign, as long as it is 3 years or more, but there is a tiny bit of logic in offering him a 1 year deal at $14M. No longterm risk. Possible bridge to Vazquez and Lava and eventually Swihart or Denny.
Of the free agents out there, I'm not too impressed:
C: McCann: I really don't see him as a big upgrade over Salty, and he might cost nearly twice as much. If Salty walks, we may look for a bridge catcher to tandem with Ross like Ruiz, Suzuki (team option), or J Molina.
CF/RF: Pence, Choo, Granderson, C Beltran, C Hart (1B too), Morse (1B too), N Cruz, D DeJesus,
1B: K Morales, Morneau, Morse, Hart, Loney, Konerko, Reynolds (3B too) and team options: Lind & Berkman.
RP: Crain, Ballfour, and several others
I think Ben may try hard for Pence and McCann, but possibly Choo, Salty and K Morales.
If we re-sign Drew, we will not sign a 1Bman (Bogey to 3B/Middy to 1B).
If we re-sign Napoli, Drew is gone and we go with the kids on the leftside IF.
If we re-sign Salty, we'll still need a CF/RF and 1B/3B/SS.
It should be an exciting winter.