Josh Hamilton, David Ortiz among free agents to receive qualifying offers

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Under the new collective bargaining agreement Type A and Type B free agent designations have been ditched in favor of teams needing to make a “qualifying offer” to free agents in order to receive compensation for their departure.

Qualifying offers are basically one-year deals for the average salary of the top 125 highest-paid players, which equals $13.3 million for 2013. Players have until next Friday to accept or decline the qualifying offer, and if they decline and sign elsewhere the old team gets a first-round pick as compensation and the new team is stripped of a first-round pick.

Today was the deadline to make qualifying offers and the following free agents received one:

– Josh Hamilton, Rangers
– David Ortiz, Red Sox
– Rafael Soriano, Yankees
– Nick Swisher, Yankees
– Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees
– B.J. Upton, Rays
– Kyle Lohse, Cardinals
– Michael Bourn, Braves
– Adam LaRoche, Nationals

For a lot of those guys there’s zero chance of the qualifying offer being accepted. Kuroda seems like the best bet to simply take the one-year deal.

Prominent free agents who did not receive qualifying offers (but are still able to re-sign):

– Mike Napoli, Rangers
– Torii Hunter, Angels
– Shaun Marcum, Brewers
– Francisco Rodriguez, Brewers
– Angel Pagan, Giants
– Edwin Jackson, Nationals

Report: Welington Castillo to be suspended 80 games for violating Joint Drug Agreement

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic confirms a report from journalist Américo Celado that White Sox catcher Welington Castillo will be suspended 80 games for violating baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement. Castillo was believed to have used a steroid, but according to Rosenthal, the substance was not a steroid. More details should come on Thursday.

Castillo, 31, entered Wednesday’s action batting .270/.314/.477 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 118 plate appearances. He has gotten the bulk of the work behind the plate, backed up by Omar Narváez.

Castillo’s absence will likely prompt the White Sox to call up Kevan Smith from Triple-A Charlotte. Smith battled an ankle injury in March and April, so he got a late start to the season. In 102 PA at Triple-A, he has hit .283/.343/.457.