Teams had until 5PM yesterday afternoon to make a qualifying offer — a one-year contract at $17.4 million — to prospective free agents. Players who received a qualifying offer have until November 16 to accept or reject the offer.
If they accept, that’s their deal for 2018. If they reject it, any team that signs them has to forfeit a draft pick next summer, with said pick being determined by the competitive and financial status of the signing team, with top first round picks being exempt (you can read the details here). The team losing the player does not get the surrendered pick, but they do receive a compensation pick after the second round. The upshot to the rejecting player, of course, is that he suddenly becomes a bit more costly to teams who would sign him, given that they’ll have to pay him and will lose a draft pick.
So, who got the qualifying offers this year? These guys:
Only five players have ever accepted qualifying offers: Jeremy Hellickson and Neil Walker last year and Colby Rasmus, Matt Wieters and Brett Anderson the year before. It ended up being a good move for all of them, as it wasn’t at all clear that there was a market for them such that rejecting it seemed like a great idea.
It’s hard to see anyone who will accept the qualifying offer this year, however. Moustakas and Hosmer are both under 30 and can expect multi-year offers. Santana and Cain are each above average everyday players who can likewise expect to find better deals than 1-year, $17.4 million. Pitching is always at a premium on the open market, so a former Cy Young winner like Arrieta, a couple of 30-year-old starters like Lynn and Cobb and a couple of top closers in Davis and Holland should do OK too.
They have until November 16 to think it over, but at the moment, it would be a surprise if any of these guys took their $17.4 million and went back to their old teams.