Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports that Major League Baseball has set the qualifying offer for the offseason going into the 2018 season has been set at $17.4 million. That’s an increase of $200,000 over last year. The QO was $15.8 million in 2015, so the latest increase is comparatively tiny.
The qualifying offer value is derived by taking the average of the top 125 salaries across baseball. Teams who make a qualifying offer to a player who signs elsewhere receive a compensatory draft pick. Teams that sign a player who rejected a qualifying offer from another team give up their highest non-protected draft selection.
Players who were traded mid-season are ineligible to receive a qualifying offer.
The 2012-16 collective bargaining agreement introduced the qualifying offer system to baseball and it has since been altered to hinder free agents less when they hit the open market. Players that rejected qualifying offers tended to have trouble procuring contracts compared to similarly-skilled players without draft pick compensation attached to them because teams did not want to relinquish their picks. Now compensation is tied in part to revenue sharing and the luxury tax.