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2019 qualifying offer set at $17.9 million

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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.

Among the players who could receive qualifying offers: Bryce Harper, A.J. Pollock, Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, Craig Kimbrel, and Andrew Miller.

Report: Padres acquire Tommy Pham from Rays

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Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres have acquired outfielder Tommy Pham from the Rays in exchange for outfielder Hunter Renfroe and Single-A middle infielder Xavier Edwards. The Padres are also expected to receive an as yet unknown prospect from the Rays.

Pham, 31, is entering his second year of arbitration eligibility and is projected to earn $8.6 million for the 2020 season. This past season with the Rays, Pham was valued at 3.7 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball Reference, playing solid defense while batting .273/.369/.450 with 21 home runs, 68 RBI, 77 runs scored, and 25 stolen bases over 654 plate appearances.

Renfroe, 27, is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility as a Super Two player. MLB Trade Rumors projects him to earn a $3.4 million salary in 2020. He’s coming off of a campaign in which he set a career-high in home runs with 33 while batting .216/.289/.489 with 64 RBI and 64 runs scored across 494 trips to the plate.

Edwards, 20, was selected by the Padres in the first round (38th overall) of the 2018 draft and was ranked as the No. 5 prospect in the organization, per MLB Pipeline. He spent 2019 between Single-A Fort Wayne and High-A Lake Elsinor, batting a combined .322/.375/.396 with 27 extra-base hits, 43 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 34 stolen bases in 561 PA.

The Padres needed to upgrade the offense in the outfield as the club ranked in the bottom-third of the league with an aggregate .740 OPS from all three outfield spots. The club sent Franmil Reyes, who put up an .849 OPS for the Padres over the first four months of 2019, to the Indians at the trade deadline. Wil Myers put up a slightly below average .739 OPS and Manuel Margot posted a light .691 OPS.

It will be interesting to see if the Rays can level up Renfroe. He certainly hits for power but he will need to work on his on-base skills if he is going to help this trade pan out well for the Rays. Edwards will help as well, as he is rated No. 72 overall among prospects across the league, according to MLB Pipeline. Along with the talent acquired in the trade, the Rays save a bit of money swapping Pham for Renfroe.