What is a qualifying offer? How much is it? Which players are free agents that might generate qualifying offers this offseason? We will answer those questions in this piece.
WHAT IS A QUALIFYING OFFER?
When a player is eligible for free agency a team can assign a qualifying offer to a player. The player may accept the one year offer or turn it down.
If he accepts, he gets the one year set price (see below).
If he turns down the offer…
1 – He is free to sign with any team.
2 – The team that signs him to a contract must also give up a draft pick to his former while and they could lose international spending pool money as well.
There is, in essence, a penalty that teams have to pay in order to sign the free agent which can cause some harm to the actual free agent as it isn’t as simple as just giving the guy gobs of cash.
PLAYER WHO ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR QO
If a player was traded during the previous season, he cannot get a qualifying offer. That covers a guy like Kris Bryant.
A player may also not receive a QO if they received one the previous offseason. That means Marcus Stroman and Kevin Gausman cannot receive a QO this year.
Others who are ineligible include… Javier Baez, Alex Cobb, Nelson Cruz, Eduardo Escobar, Zack Greinke, Kenley Jansen, Starling Marte, Anthony Rizzo, Max Scherzer, Kyle Schwarber.
HOW MUCH IS THE QUALIFYING OFFER?
This year is the first time in a decade that the QO is going down.
Last year the mark was $18.9 million.
This year the number is $18.4 million.
FREE AGENTS WHO SEEM LIKELY TO GET QO
Carlos Correa is just barely 27 years old, considered clutch, and coming off an impressive season that includes a .850 OPS, .364 wOBA an 134 wRC+. He was also 8th amongst all players in fWAR at 5.8.
Freddie Freeman won the MVP last year and followed that up with a .300-31-83-120 season this year. He also won the NLDS with a homer off Josh Hader.
Clayton Kershaw doesn’t have a damaged UCL from what we are hearing, but his season ended on a down note when he was shut down. Gotta thing the Dodgers bring him back, right? Still had a 1.02 WHIP over 22 starts.
Robbie Ray led the AL in ERA (2.84), innings (193.1), strikeouts (248) and WHIP (1.05). Likely a top-3 Cy Young finisher who is gonna get paaaaaaid.
Carlos Rodon was dynamic on the year with a 2.37 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and 12.6 K/9. He also threw just 132.2 innings and dealt with arm woes and diminished velocity late in the year. A fascinating offseason awaits the always injured one.
Corey Seager had a .915 OPS with a .306/.394/.521 slash line while playing strong defense. The only missing piece is health as he has been under 500 plate appearances in 3-of-4 seasons.
Trevor Story will get the offer, and immediately say no, I’m done, I’m out. He went 20/20 for a third straight full season, but his .801 OPS was well off the .909 mark he posted from 2018-20.
FREE AGENTS WHO COULD RECEIVE QO
Brandon Belt can’t stay healthy. When he does, he mashes.
Michael Conforto will almost certainly receive the offer. The Mets have loads of money and Conforto posted a .875 OPS in 2019-20 while he’s hit at least 28 homers his last two seasons of 500 at-bats.
Anthony DeSclafani slowed in the second half, but he has a solid season for the Giants going 13-7 with a 3.17 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 152 punchouts in 167.2 innings. That is as good as it gets, and there is likely regression on the horizon, but teams need depth starters like this – badly.
Jon Gray will certainly sign a deal with the Rockies, right? They were bashed for not dealing him at the trade deadline, and they did so with the proviso that they would bring him back on a long-term deal. They better.
Raisel Iglesias had 34 saves with a massive 13.2 K/9 rate. Also sported an insanely good 8.6 K/BB ratio. No one wants to pay relievers big money any more, but he is one of the best.
Eduardo Rodríguez pitched better than that 4.74 ERA, but he’s never taken a step. Really, he’s no better than DeSclafani at this point.
Noah Syndergaard is likely to get the offer, right? Probably? Still, he has thrown two innings the last two seasons so it is hard to think that a big multi-year offer would come from anyone.
Chris Taylor is a hell of a ball player who can play infield and outfield. Went .254-20-73-92-13 which is basically the player he has been since 2017.
Justin Verlander will be 39 on Opening Day with six innings pitched over two seasons as he was never able to make it back from Tommy John surgery this past season as hoped.
FREE AGENTS WHO AREN’T LIKELY TO GET QO
Mark Canha scored 93 runs and went 17/12. Also has a .377 OBP the last three years.
Avisail Garcia had a strong season, but it’s not worth $18.4M (.262-29-86).
Yusei Kikuchi struggled with inconstancy while making 29 starts. Had 163 punchouts and increased velocity over 157 innings.
Corey Kluber threw 80 innings in 2021 to bring his three-year total to 116.2. His 2.48 K/BB stands in stark contract to his 5.33 mark from 2013-18.
Alex Wood is a hurler every team would want, but not at the QO cost. He made 26 starts for the Giants with a 3.83 ERA and 1.18 WHIP.