Three straight offseasons filled with speculation about various free agents who received qualifying offers accepting the one-year deals and three straight offseasons in which no one accepted them.
In all 34 players have turned down qualifying offers since the system was put in place and zero have accepted, including borderline cases like Michael Cuddyer, Ervin Santana, and Francisco Liriano declining their teams’ offers today.
Here’s a list of all the free agents to turn down the $15.3 million qualifying offer this time around:
Melky Cabrera, Blue Jays
Nelson Cruz, Orioles
Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
Francisco Liriano, Pirates
Russell Martin, Pirates
Victor Martinez, Tigers
Hanley Ramirez, Dodgers
David Robertson, Yankees
Pablo Sandoval, Giants
Ervin Santana, Braves
Max Scherzer, Tigers
James Shields, Royals
Last year Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew clearly should have accepted what was then a $14.1 million qualifying offer, so we’ll see if any of this year’s offer-declining free agents regret their decisions in a few months.
The Nationals selected the contract of reliever George Kontos from the Atlantic League Long Island Ducks, per an official announcement on Saturday. The right-hander has been assigned to Triple-A Fresno, but could still make his season debut sometime before the first half of the season draws to a close.
Kontos, 33, hasn’t pitched in the majors since he took a handful of back-to-back-to-back gigs with the Pirates, Indians, and Yankees in 2018. He inked a minor league pact with the Cubs over the offseason, but failed to break camp with the team and was subsequently released in mid-April. He turned in seven strong innings for the Ducks since then, allowing one run and one walk and striking out six of 27 batters in six appearances.
Last year, the veteran reliever posted a combined 4.39 ERA, 2.4 BB/9, and 5.1 SO/9 over 26 2/3 innings. While he hasn’t pitched anywhere close to his career-best numbers in four years, he may still provide some valuable depth for the club, whose bullpen ranks 10th best in the league with a cumulative 4.59 ERA and 5.9 fWAR so far in 2019.