Two more 2012 Nationals found new homes on Thursday when left-hander Tom Gorzelanny agreed to a two-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and right-hander Edwin Jackson was close on what could be a four-year, $52 million deal with the Chicago Cubs, according to ESPN.
(Update 3:43 p.m.: According to CSNChicago, Jackson’s deal is agreed upon.)
Jackson was a free agent and, as they never made him a $13.3 million qualifying offer, the Nationals never appeared all that interested in re-signing him. The same could likely be said for Gorzelanny, who was non-tendered by the Nationals on Nov. 30 after making $3 million as a long reliever in 2012.
The Nationals’ decision not to offer Jackson a qualifying offer was one that raised a few eyebrows around the game, particularly now that he’s in line for a multi-year offer, but at the time the Nationals simply made the evaluation that he wasn’t a player they’d pay $13.3 million for.
“Those are decisions that you talk about internally,” general manager Mike Rizzo said in November, shortly after the decision was made. “We felt with the depth we had at the major league level and the depth of free agents that we had out there that we had as good or better options.”
The way the new qualifying offer system works, a team extends an offer at the set price (this year it was $13.3 million) and the player has a week to accept or decline it. If he declines, and signs elsewhere, he nets his former team a draft pick. It also makes the price of signing that player higher (for example, look at what it’s done to Adam LaRoche’s market this offseason).
It’s merely speculative, but the Nationals had to feel strong enough that Jackson would accept an offer they felt was too high in order to decide not to offer one.
With regard to Gorzelanny, the Nationals decided ultimately they were unwilling to go through the arbitration process with the left-hander, despite how well he performed in relief for them in 2012 and a willingness to bring him back. That is no longer option after the Brewers are giving him roughly the same $3 million he made in 2012 for each of the next two seasons ($6 million total according to FOXsports.com).
This leaves just LaRoche, Mark DeRosa, Michael Gonzalez and Jesus Flores as remaining free agents and non-tenders who spent 2012 with the Nationals are still on the market.