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Report: Colby Rasmus to accept qualifying offer from Astros

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Historic news from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, who hears that Colby Rasmus will accept his qualifying offer from the Astros and return on a one-year, $15.8 million contract.

Rasmus becomes the first player to accept a qualifying offer. As Rosenthal notes, all 34 players who were extended qualifying offers over the past three years all declined.

Rasmus was one of a record 20 free agents to receive a qualifying offer last Friday. The assumption, as it was with most free agents, was that he would decline and sign elsewhere. Doing so would net the Astros a compensatory draft pick in 2016. However, Rasmus’ agent clearly felt that he was going to have a tough time in the market with a draft pick attached. So now he gets a nice one-year deal and will give it another try next offseason.

As for the Astros, this is probably more than they’d want to pay Rasmus, but fortunately it’s only a one-year deal. And it’s not like he wasn’t productive this season. The 29-year-old slugged 25 home runs with a .789 OPS over 137 games. Now that the Astros know he’s coming back, they could explore trading Evan Gattis to upgrade in other areas.

Free agents have until tomorrow at 5 p.m. ET to accept or decline their qualifying offers. You can view the complete list here.

Oakland Athletics reverse course: will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.