MLB free agent qualifying offer price $19.65M, up $1.25M

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — The price of a qualifying offer to Major League Baseball free agents rose to $19.65 million, an increase of $1.25 million.

The figure is determined by the average of the top 125 major league contracts this year. The price dropped by $100,000 to $17.8 million in 2019, then rose to $18.9 million in 2020 and fell $500,000 last year.

Among the top players who can become free agents after the World Series and are eligible to receive qualifying offers are New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge, New York Mets pitchers Jacob deGrom, Edwin Diaz and Chris Bassitt and outfielder Brandon Nimmo, Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts, Atlanta shortstop Dansby Swanson, Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner, Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras and San Francisco pitcher Carlos Rodon.

Players eligible for free agency but not for qualifying offers include Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu, Minnesota shortstop Carlos Correa and Philadelphia pitcher Noah Syndergaard.

A free agent can be made a qualifying offer only if he has been with the same team continuously since opening day and has never received a qualifying offer before.

A qualifying offer can be made through the fifth day after the World Series, and a player has a week after that to accept.

If a team makes a qualifying offer to a player who signs a major league contract with another club before the amateur draft, his former club would receive a draft pick as compensation at the end of the first round or at the end of competitive balance round B. The placement depends on the amount of the new contract and the revenue-sharing and luxury tax status of the team losing the player.

Qualifying offers began after the 2012 season, and only eight of 110 offers have been accepted. Among the 14 players given offers last year, only San Francisco first baseman Brandon Belt said yes.

Major League Baseball offered last winter to drop qualifying offers and direct draft-pick compensation, and the March lockout settlement tied the proposal to the players’ association agreeing to an international amateur draft. The union rejected the draft in July.

The qualifying offer price started at $13.3 million in 2012 and rose to $14.1 million in 2013, $15.3 million in 2014, $15.8 million in 2015, $17.2 million in 2016 and $17.4 million in 2017.

Free agent slugger José Abreu signs 3-year, $58.5M deal with Astros

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
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HOUSTON — Jose Abreu and the World Series champion Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million contract, adding another powerful bat to Houston’s lineup.

Abreu, the 2020 AL MVP, gets $19.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He spent his first nine major league seasons with the Chicago White Sox. The first baseman became a free agent after batting .304 with 15 home runs, 75 RBIs and an .824 OPS this year.

With the Astros, he replaces Yuli Gurriel at first base in a batting order that also features All-Star sluggers Yordan Alvarez, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker.

Gurriel became a free agent after Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies this month for its second World Series championship.

The 35-year-old Abreu becomes the biggest free agent to switch teams so far this offseason. Born in Cuba, the three-time All-Star and 2014 AL Rookie of the Year is a .292 career hitter in the majors with 243 homers, 863 RBIs and an .860 OPS.

The Astros announced the signing. Abreu was scheduled to be introduced in a news conference at Minute Maid Park.

He would get a $200,000 for winning an MVP award, $175,000 for finishing second in the voting, $150,000 for third, $125,000 for fourth and $100,000 for fifth. Abreu also would get $100,000 for earning World Series MVP and $75,000 for League Championship Series MVP, $75,000 for making the All-Star team and $75,000 for winning a Gold Glove or a Silver Slugger.

Abreu gets a hotel suite on road trips and the right to buy a luxury suite for all Astros home games.