The season just ended, but it’s already time to think about qualifying offers for impending free agents. For those unfamiliar, teams must give qualifying offers to their free agents if they want to receive draft pick compensation. The player has the ability to accept the qualifying offer (which will be a one-year, $15.8 million contract this time around), but if they turn it down and sign a contract elsewhere, the team nets a compensatory draft pick for 2016. Likewise, the signing team surrenders a draft pick.
Players like David Price and Yoenis Cespedes can’t receive qualifying offers from the Blue Jays and Mets respectively since they were acquired midseason. However, those who were with the same team for all of 2015 are eligible. One such player who falls under this classification is Matt Wieters. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Orioles are expected to give him a qualifying offer by Friday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline.
Wieters is an interesting case since he appeared in just 75 games this season after Tommy John surgery while batting .267 with eight home runs and a .742 OPS (100 OPS+). But he’s the No. 1 catcher on the market and doesn’t turn 30 until next April. He’ll almost certainly land a lucrative multi-year contract somewhere. This is one of those situations where a qualifying offer should be an easy call. At the very worst, he’d accept and the Orioles would have him on a one-year deal. That seems unlikely, even off what wasn’t an ideal walk year.
Assuming Wieters receives the qualifying offer, he will have one week to decide whether to accept or reject.