Major League Baseball has set the qualifying offer for the upcoming offseason at $17.4MM, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes reports (Twitter link).
With the news, teams can now make full assessments of whether to issue qualifying offers to pending free agents. Offers are due five days after the World Series wraps up; players will then have ten days to weigh them.
Prior indications were that the figure would land somewhat higher, with expectations sitting in the range of $18.1MM. Last year, the QO sat at $17.2MM, so this represents only a marginal tick upward. Though the variations here are relatively small relative to the total value, every bit of money adds up for teams that are looking to map out a payroll plan.
When the QO system went into effect in the fall of 2012, the offer price — which is set by averaging the top 125 salaries leaguewide — was set at $13.3MM. For the first five years of its operation, the draft compensation system was relatively simple, but also seemingly operated to create quite a burden for mid-tier free agents. Tim gave an early an excellent account of the impact early in 2013; one year later, I took a lengthy look at the way the offer functioned in practice and explored some concepts for improving it. To that point, no player had accepted a qualifying offer. The market evolved from that point onward, as several players ultimately took the big, one-year salaries. But it remained clear that only a few players each year were disproportionately burdened by the system, which also did not seem to be benefiting smaller-market organizations.
With a new collective bargaining agreement came a new and more complicated rules regime that sought to temper some of those problems. Rather than the one-size-fits-all approach that once governed, several variables are now utilized to determine the draft compensation that results when a player declines a QO and then signs with another organization. You’ll want to review this thorough breakdown of the new system, via MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk, for a full understanding of the procedures that apply for the coming offseason.