My question is "what's the point," though? You're correct that that risk isn't enormous for the Yankees. However, think of a team like Oakland. If they make a qualifying offer to someone, they risk the player accepting and taking up like 25%+ of their payroll the next season. If they decide that risk is too high, they receive no compensation whatsoever when that player goes elsewhere.
According to this page, OAK's salary was just under $50M lastseason:
The Yankees gave quality offers to Kuroda, Swisher, and Soriano yesterday. If all 3 players accepted, that would be roughly 20% of their 2012 payroll. If OAK did that, that would be roughly 80% of their 2012 payroll. Huge difference. In other words, teams like the Yankees can afford to make more quality offers. If the players accept, they can afford it. If not, they get a compensation pick. Small-market teams must choose between making offers that would cripple their payroll if accepted, and receive no compensation if a quality offer isn't made.