2018 qualifying offer set at $17.4 million

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Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors reports that Major League Baseball has set the qualifying offer for the offseason going into the 2018 season has been set at $17.4 million. That’s an increase of $200,000 over last year. The QO was $15.8 million in 2015, so the latest increase is comparatively tiny.

The qualifying offer value is derived by taking the average of the top 125 salaries across baseball. Teams who make a qualifying offer to a player who signs elsewhere receive a compensatory draft pick. Teams that sign a player who rejected a qualifying offer from another team give up their highest non-protected draft selection.

Players who were traded mid-season are ineligible to receive a qualifying offer.

The 2012-16 collective bargaining agreement introduced the qualifying offer system to baseball and it has since been altered to hinder free agents less when they hit the open market. Players that rejected qualifying offers tended to have trouble procuring contracts compared to similarly-skilled players without draft pick compensation attached to them because teams did not want to relinquish their picks. Now compensation is tied in part to revenue sharing and the luxury tax.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).