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2018 qualifying offer set at $17.4 million

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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.

Indians sign Melvin Upton Jr. to a minor league deal

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The Cleveland Indians have agreed to a minor league deal with outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr.

Upton, 33, battled a torn thumb ligament and a shoulder issue last season, limiting him to only 12 games with Triple-A Sacramento, the Giants’ affiliate. In those 12 games, he hit .244 with one double and one home run. Upton last played in the majors in 2016 with the Padres and Blue Jays with which he posted an aggregate .693 OPS.

Given the injuries suffered by Indians outfielders in the past couple of seasons it can’t hurt to have some options for organizational depth. If he has anything left in the tank, stash him on the bench or down in Columbus. If not, no harm done.