Today is the day players must accept or reject qualifying offers

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As you probably know, free agents who spent the entire 2016 season with one team are eligible to be given qualifying offers by that club. The qualifying offer is $17.2 million this year. If a player accepts it, that’s his deal, for one year, with his 2016 club. If he rejects it and if he signs elsewhere, his 2016 team gets draft pick compensation in the form of the signing team’s first round pick, with the top 10 picks protected.

Today is the day by which players who were given qualifying offers by their 2016 club have to decide what to do. The deadline is 5pm. Here are the players who are on the clock:

Most if not all of these players will reject the qualifying offer.

For example, Yoenis Cespedes opted-out of a deal for 2017 that would’ve paid him far more than $17.2 million. Edwin Encarnacion is clearly worth more than that as well and will get a multi-year deal. The Dodgers free agents — Kenley Jansen and Justin Turner — will be in high demand and are likely to land more lucrative multi-year deals as well. The same is likely true of Mark Trumbo, even if he’s probably not worth what your typical 47-homer player may command.

As for the closer cases: Dexter Fowler has alreaady said he will decline his. Ian Desmond rejected a qualifying offer from the Nationals last year and didn’t sign with the Rangers until well after spring training began, which may give him pause about how to proceed this year. He raised their stock considerably in 2016, however, and may choose to test the full market once again. UPDATE: Yup, he will.

Neil Walker has been a superior bat for several years running now, but he missed September with an injury and required surgery, so the double-whammy of health concerns and draft pick compensation may depress his market, causing him to look hard at that $17.2 million bird in the hand. Jeremy Hellickson is no one’s idea of your typical top free agent pitcher, but the market is extraordinarily thin this winter. He is reported to be leaning toward rejecting his qualifying offer and, if he does, it would be hard to blame him given that even medicore pitchers have received pretty big multi-year deals in recent years.

Last year there were  three players — Colby Rasmus, Matt Wieters and Brett Anderson — accepted. They were the first three players to ever accept a qualifying offer. As of 5pm tonight they may still be the only three to have done so.

Mets cut catcher Tomás Nido, reinstate Omar Narváez from 60-day IL

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NEW YORK (AP) Needing to make a difficult decision at catcher, the New York Mets cut light-hitting Tomás Nido on Monday when they reinstated fellow backstop Omar Narváez from the 60-day injured list.

Nido was designated for assignment in a move that keeps catcher Francisco Álvarez in the majors. The 21-year-old rookie flourished in May and ascended to first string, taking advantage of consistent playing time while Narváez and Nido were on the IL.

Nido was activated May 25 but has made only two starts since, going 1 for 5 with two strikeouts. He was a Gold Glove finalist last season and is signed through 2024 after essentially taking over the starting job from a slumping James McCann last year by the time the Mets entered the playoffs.

This season, however, Nido is batting a paltry .125 (7 for 56) without an extra-base hit.

New York has seven days to trade or release him. The 29-year-old Nido could also be claimed by another team – or accept an outright assignment to the minors with the Mets if he clears waivers.

With the 31-year-old Narváez ready to return from a strained left calf, New York could have optioned Álvarez back to Triple-A Syracuse and kept all three catchers on the 40-man roster. More likely, there was thought the Mets might carry them all in the big leagues and give at-bats to Álvarez at designated hitter. That would have cut into playing time for several veterans, however, along with fellow youngster Mark Vientos.

Complicating the situation a bit, it’s a little unclear right now what Nido is capable of providing offensively. He’s never been a dangerous hitter, compiling a .213 batting average and .557 OPS primarily in backup duty over 274 games in seven major league seasons. But he was on the injured list from May 7-24 with dry eye syndrome that apparently affected his vision, possibly explaining – at least in part – his dreadful start at the plate this season.

He had plugs placed in both eyes that help them remain lubricated and improve his sight. Nido is a right-handed hitter like Álvarez, though. Narváez, an All-Star in 2021 with Milwaukee, bats left-handed, making him a more natural complement.

One of baseball’s top-rated prospects when he began the year in the minors, Álvarez was expected to gain more seasoning at Triple-A while Narváez and Nido shared playing time in the big leagues.

But then Álvarez was quickly called up in early April when Narváez strained his left calf during the second series of the season in Milwaukee.

Álvarez got off to a slow start, then took off in May – batting .292 with seven homers, 17 RBIs and a 1.029 OPS, including several clutch swings late in games. He is hitless in his past 16 at-bats, but Álvarez’s raw power is an element sorely needed by the scuffling Mets as they attempt to generate more runs.

His defense was said to be a work in progress when he arrived, but Álvarez has impressed behind the plate, too, earning praise from coaches and veteran pitchers – particularly three-time Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer – for his instincts and work ethic.

Nido signed a $3.7 million, two-year contract in the offseason. Narváez was signed to a $15 million, two-year deal as a free agent in December.

Despite a record $355 million payroll, the Mets are off to a disappointing 30-30 start. They were off Monday before opening a three-game series Tuesday night in Atlanta. New York is third in the NL East, 5 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves.