Last year marked the first time that the new qualifying offer system was employed. All nine players who were extended an offer declined to accept it. In addition to turning down a sure $13.3MM, those players hit the market with draft pick compensation attached. Things worked out well enough, as each ultimately signed for a comfortable bit more than the qualfying offer, with only one (Hiroki Kuroda) settling for a one-year deal and total guarantee of less than $24MM.
This time around, we learned today, a club hoping to affix the poison pill of draft pick compensation to an outgoing free agent will need to offer $14.1MM. With the number settled, I thought it would be interesting to see whether MLBTR's readers think we'll see a first for the QO system: a player that accepts the offer. Of course, there are good reasons to expect that such a result will be a relative rarity, beginning with the fact that borderline players may not get an offer in the first place. But it is bound to happen sooner or later.
Recently, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes asked our readers to assess which players would receive an offer from their club. (Here are the results.) Starting from his list, it doesn't seem worth considering everyone. Some are no-brainers both to get an offer and to reject it: Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, and Brian McCann. While things start to get debatable after that group, it is hard to see Curtis Granderson, Mike Napoli, or Ervin Santana taking a QO at this stage. (I considered excluding Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Tim Lincecum, and Carlos Beltran as well, but decided to keep them in the poll.) Then, let's strike a few off the bottom of the list who probably have no chance at the offer at this point: Dan Haren, Josh Johnson, and Scott Kazmir. And, of course, Hunter Pence has already re-signed.
The remaining group includes the likeliest possibilities. All are at least plausible candidates to get an offer. And whether owing to age, market uncertainty, personal considerations, or a poor platform year, there is at least some reason to believe that each could be enticed to take a cool $14MM when it is the only money actually sitting on the table.
So, is there a team that will make an offer to a player that it expects to accept? And/or a player sufficiently concerned with the Bourn-Lohse effect to do just that? What is the likeliest situation to result in an accepted offer: an aging veteran starter looking for one last go (perhaps Bronson Arroyo, A.J. Burnett, Kuroda)? a high-upside arm looking to ensure a payday and build more value (Ubaldo Jimenez, Lincecum)? a low-ceiling, high-floor middle-infielder who a contender might pay handsomely for a single campaign (Stephen Drew, Omar Infante)? an established power bat with defensive limitations (Beltran, Nelson Cruz, Kendrys Morales)? or an emergent backstop who comes with some questions about the sustainability of his breakout (Saltalamacchia)?
Which — if any — of the following players do you see as the most likely to both receive and accept a qualifying offer from their current club during the coming off-season? (Response choice order has been randomized.)