Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the value of a qualifying offer going into the 2019 season has been set at $17.9 million. That’s a $500,000 increase over the 2018 QO.
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 QO system has been the subject of criticism as many free agents with draft pick compensation attached to them have had trouble landing contracts. A subset of those who did eventually land contracts did so relatively late in the offseason or even during spring training, hurting their ability to be prepared for the start of the regular season. There is some belief that the QO system will be scrapped when the next collective bargaining agreement is agreed upon.