Explaining MLB's 'qualifying offer'

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Explaining MLB's 'qualifying offer'

The Red Sox have seven free agents from their 2012 roster Aaron Cook, James Loney, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Vicente Padilla, Scott Podsednik, David Ortiz, and Cody Ross. The team must decide by 5 p.m. today whether to make a qualifying offer to these players.

As part of the current collective bargaining agreement, in effect for 2012-2016, the concept of qualifying offers is in play for the first time. Which brings up several questions, including: What is a qualifying offer? How is it determined? What does it mean for the player and the team?

Players no longer have to declare free agency, as they have in the past. Now, players automatically became free agents at 9 a.m. the day after the World Series ended in this case, Monday. Teams have a five-day window of exclusivity, known as the quiet period, which began Monday and expires at 11:59 ET tonight, in which they alone can talk with their players who are free agents. When that expires players may talk to any team.

The amount of the qualifying offer for this year is determined by averaging the top 125 salaries of 2012. That amount is likely to change each year. The qualifying offer for this year is 13.3 million. If the player accepts the qualifying offer from the Sox, he will stay with the team for 2013 at a salary of 13.3 million. If he declines, he is free to negotiate with other teams. A player has until 5 p.m. seven days after the qualifying offer deadline, in this case Nov. 9, to decide whether to accept or decline the qualifying offer.

The Sox must make a qualifying offer to a player if they want to receive a compensation pick in the 2013 draft in the event the player signs with another team. If they do not extend a qualifying offer to a player and the player signs with another team, they will not receive a compensation pick in next years draft. Compensation picks will be made in the 2013 draft after the first round. (The team that signs such a player would have to forfeit a first-round pick except for the top 10 picks. That forfeited pick would not go directly to the team which the player left. But, thats a primer for another day.) There are no more Type A and Type B classifications of free agents.

Of the Red Sox group of free agents, Ortiz is the only player to whom they would consider making a qualifying offer. Ortiz, however, made 14.75 million in 2012 and would likely reject a qualifying offer. The designated hitter, who turns 37 on Nov. 18 and who just completed his 10th season in Boston, would prefer a two-year deal. If he rejects the qualifying offer, the Sox can continue to negotiate with him until he agrees to a contract with the Sox or another team. The Rangers are also reportedly interested in him.

Thomas tweets - and deletes - recruiting pitch to Durant

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Thomas tweets - and deletes - recruiting pitch to Durant

Isaiah Thomas has been the Boston Celtics’ No. 1 pitch man as of late, and hasn’t been shy about it.

During All-Star Weekend, Thomas said he was approached by a player inquiring about Boston. 

The Celtics point guard also posted a must-read Players’ Tribune piece titled "To a City Like No Other” that highlights his feelings about the city of Boston.

He was at it again on Sunday night.

After the Oklahoma City Thunder were eliminated from the playoffs, Thomas wasted no time making a quick pitch to the biggest free agent target out there - Kevin Durant.

The tweet didn’t last long, though. Thomas deleted the tweet shortly thereafter.

Report: Butler expected to be at OTAs this week

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Report: Butler expected to be at OTAs this week

When Patriots corner Malcolm Butler wasn't on the field for last Thursday's OTA, it sparked questions as to whether or not he might be holding out for a new contract. Voted into the Pro Bowl last season, Butler is scheduled to make $600,000 in base salary in 2016 -- well under market value for a player of his caliber. 

ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss reported over the weekend that Butler has told those close to him that he has plans to push for a contract adjustment this offseason.

Might that push include a holdout? It's unclear, but on Tuesday Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported that Butler is expected to be in attendance for Patriots OTAs this week. Howe went on to note that he was given "a strong indication" that Butler's absence last week was not related to his contract.

The Patriots will hold two more volunatry OTA sessions on Wednesday and Thursday that will be closed to the media. The team held three such sessions last week, with Thursday's as the lone practice open to reporters. Mandatory minicamp will be held from June 7-9. 

If Butler shows up to remaining OTAs and through minicamp, then it will be an indication that he's chosen not to attempt to gain leverage in negotiations by withholding his services. Yet at the same time, his presence on the field won't necessarily mean that he's be satisfied to continue playing under the deal that he has thoroughly outperformed through his first two professional seasons.

Warriors didn't play takeaway; Thunder played giveway

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Warriors didn't play takeaway; Thunder played giveway

The Oklahoma City Thunder choked. I mean, they got a gigantic tumble weed lodged in their larynx.

The better team did not win. However, the Golden State Warriors are actually better than the Thunder in one category:

Identity.

The Warriors know who they are and how they have to win. It never changes. Fire away, baby, and sooner or later the shots will fall . . . especially if the opposition has no clue who they are and how they got the lead in the first place.

I'm not sure if the Warriors are a great team defensively, or if OKC simply couldn't run an offense to extend its leads in Games 6 and 7. The best basketball analyst for my money is Kenny "The Jet" Smith. He accurately pointed out that one ill-advised 3-point attempt by Russell Westbrook in the first half crushed the Thunder’s chance to extend their lead into double digits. The same happened with a bad 3 in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors can kill a rally or get back into a game as soon their 3s fall. That is how they win . . . period. The Thunder tried to play Golden State's game at the worst times. OKC forgot that ball movement, player motion and setting up Kevin Durant for the best shot possible is how to win, not by hoisting panic-ridden 3s from the top of the key. To be fair, in the first half Durant did good job getting others involved. But when the Warriors got on a roll, the OKC offense froze with fear.

It simply amazes me how the Thunder would leave the paint wide open on the offensive end. No cuts, no pick-and-rolls (or not enough of them, anyway). Simply give the ball to Durant and then stand there. Or worse! KD gives the ball to Westbrook or another teammate and then he stands there! My God, give up the ball and move, Kevin! To me it was Durant’s stagnation without the ball that cost Oklahoma City a shot at the title.

Golden State was a very opportunistic team. It was not going to take the game or games from you. But if you wanted to give the Warriors a chance, no matter how slight, they'd accept it. And that’s exactly what OKC did.

Billy Donovan, Westbrook and Durant should feel sick to their stomach. If they don’t, something is wrong with them. My suspicion all three have driven the porcelain bus. Figuratively.

I was rooting for Durant because finally, finally Westbrook was buying into the team concept. But in the end it was Durant who let his team -- and city -- down,