Qualifying Offers For Free Agents

A few months from now, when the season ends and players file for free agency, teams, agents and players will navigate a new system for determining free agent compensation. Here’s a brief primer on compensation under the sport’s new collective bargaining agreement:

  • Type A and Type B designations have been eliminated. Instead, teams will have to make players a qualifying offer to be eligible for draft pick compensation. 
  • The qualifying offer, which will be determined by averaging the top 125 player salaries from the previous year, is expected to fall in the $12-13MM range for the coming offseason. All qualifying offers are for the same duration (one year) and the same amount ($12-13MM). 
  • Teams will have until five days after the World Series to make qualifying offers and the players will have seven days to accept.
  • Once a team makes a qualifying offer, the player has two choices: he can accept the one-year deal or decline in it search of other offers. If he declines the offer and signs elsewhere, his new team will have to surrender a top draft pick (the selection doesn't go to the player's former team). 
  • Teams that sign free agents who turned down qualifying offers will surrender their first round picks. However, the forfeited picks don't go to other MLB teams. Instead, the first round simply becomes condensed.
  • The first ten selections in the draft are protected. Teams with protected picks will surrender their second-highest selections. 
  • The player’s former team will receive its compensatory selection at the end of the first round. Teams now obtain one compensatory selection, instead of two.
  • If teams don’t make a qualifying offer, the player can sign uninhibited.
  • Only players who have been with their clubs for the entire season will be eligible for compensation.

23 Responses to Qualifying Offers For Free Agents Leave a Reply

  1. BlueSkyLA 3 years ago

    And I thought they couldn’t possibly make this system more complicated. A committee is a horse designed by a camel.

  2.  This is actually quite a bit less complicated than it used to be… Before, the qualifications for Type A and Type B free agents was really complicated beyond the point of making sense

  3. themightygin 3 years ago

    Silliness.  Bubble guys get punished big-time.  A guy like Ryan Dempster, who could conceivably get a 2/24 or 3/33 yr. deal would be forced into going year to year with the Cubs.

    • lawries_helmet 3 years ago

       not sure how he will be able to survive on that measly 12-13M

    • JohninNYC 3 years ago

      He will simply reject the qualifying offer, and sign a multi-year deal with the team of his choice (including possibly the Cubs).

  4. themightygin 3 years ago

    And what happens if a guy mis-reads his market, declines, and then gets no offers?  Is he stuck without a team?  

    • ukJaysfan 3 years ago

      Same as happened before.  The player declined arbitration, and was jobless until he signs somewhere.

  5. jed_hoyer 3 years ago

     2/24 or 3/33 would the same as getting the ave. for 1. what’s the difference?

    • themightygin 3 years ago

      Do you really not understand the difference between 12/24/33 mil. in guaranteed $?

    • Duke15 3 years ago

      I’m going to assume that’s just an internet name and that you are not actually Jed Hoyer.

  6. leberquesgue 3 years ago

    One question: if a team signs two “free agents who turned down qualifying offers” (btw this needs a catchier name, like “Type A”) how will priority for 1st vs 2nd round draft pick be determined? Under the old system, the first pick went to the higher Elias ranked player.

    • ‘Qualified Free Agents’, perhaps?
      ‘Compensation Free Agents’?

    • ukJaysfan 3 years ago

      If a team signs 2 qualifying free agents, the teams that lose the player will draft according to their previous year’s winning percentage. So the team signing them will give their 1st round pick to the lesser team (if not protected), and their 2nd round pick to the better team.

      • No, there is no giving of picks. Just losing of picks. The question still stands, ‘if a team signs 2 qualifying free agents, how do they lose 2 first round picks?’

  7. QUESTION – about the line:  “Only players who have been with their clubs for the entire season will be eligible for compensation”

    Suppose you have a player like Johnny Damon:  signed to a current deal that expires at the end of the year, but signed after the season started.  [Let’s pretend for a second that he could possibly be worth $13m or so.]

    For players like him whose contracts expire at season’s end, does that line mean that they are free agents immediately and that neither: (a) the ‘Qualifying Offer’ bit cannot apply, nor (b) would their current teams be eligible any compensation picks under any scenario?  That’s what I think I’m reading from it, anyway.

    • LioneeR 3 years ago

      It will never happen.  No reason a player worth 12+ million a year will wait(or have to wait) to sign until after the season stars.

      • Sure there is.  Think of a “Peyton Manning” situation – a free agent with questions about whether a medical report would ever allow him to play his sport again.  A guy like that would only get low-ball offers due to the risk (and might choose to reject them) until getting medical clearance.

        So yeah, I’d still like to know the answer to the question.

      • stl_cards16 3 years ago

        What if Roy Oswalt signs soon and pitches like an Ace for the remainder of the season and the playoffs?  I would say he would be worth a 1 year $12MM offer.

        • jeffmaz 3 years ago

          Teams can offer more…about $12 mil is the minimum deal.

          • stl_cards16 3 years ago

            ummmm, ok? Yes?  You’re right, I’m not sure what you’re looking for here……..

          • roykirk1 3 years ago

             The original question is… due to the line about being with the club for an entire season… would Oswalt be eligible to RECEIVE a qualifying offer?  He was technically NOT with the team for the whole year, since he wold have signed in May/June.

  8. brett 3 years ago

    The problem is that it automatically puts the smaller market teams at an even bigger disadvantage. Teams like the Pirates, Pads, Oakland etc wont be able to throw out 12 and 13 million dollar tenders like its cool. 

    • jeffmaz 3 years ago

      Small market teams won’t be able to amass lots of draft picks as they did before.  However, more mid-level players will be available to sign – because they aren’t worth $12 mil.  

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