Teams wishing to make one-year qualifying players to pending free agents will have to be willing to pay them $15.3MM, the Associated Press reports (via Sportsnet.ca; h/t to Ben Nicholson-Smith). That represents an 8.5% increase over least year’s $14.1MM price tag.
The qualifying offer value is arrived at by averaging the salaries of MLB’s 125 highest-paid players. Teams may extend qualifying offers to eligible free agents-to-be within five days after the end of the World Series. Players have seven days to weigh the offer. When a player rejects the offer, his former team becomes eligible to receive an additional “sandwich” round pick in the next amateur draft, while a new signing team must forfeit their highest non-protected pick. (No draft pick movement occurs if a player re-signs with his original team.)
In order for a player to be eligible to receive a qualifying offer, the CBA states that he must have spent the entire regular season on that team’s roster. For example, Brandon McCarthy is ineligible to receive a qualifying offer after beginning the season with the Diamondbacks and being traded to the Yankees. Click here for more details on how the qualifying offer system works.
Every player made a qualifying offer to date has declined it. In the 2012-13 offseason, the first year that the QO system was in effect, nine players were made a qualifying offer and seven ultimately signed with different clubs. Last year, thirteen players turned down qualifying offers and ten went to new clubs in free agency.
As MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes explained before the 2013 season, avoiding the qualifying offer can have a major impact on a free agent’s earning capacity. That became all the more clear during the latest round of free agency, when both Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales declined qualifying offers but were unable to find multi-year offers to their liking. The pair of veterans ultimately waited months into the season before signing, settling for one-year deals before struggling badly over the rest of the year.