Today marked the deadline for players to receive one-year qualifying offers at this year’s rate of $17.9MM. This year, a record-low seven players were issued qualifying offers.
In past years, no fewer than nine players have received qualifying offers. That’s how many were extended offers in the first (2012) and most recent (2017) seasons under the system. On the high side, twenty players received qualifying offers in 2015. But that was also the first year in which any players accepted the one-year offer, which may itself have had an impact on future teams deciding whether to issue it. At the end of the day, of course, the actual players and teams involved matter most, and that can vary quite a bit from year to year based on a wide variety of factors.
New rules went into effect last winter, so you’ll want to review those to understand how the process works. Those rules likely will continue to dampen the use of the QO on the margins, both through the reduction of draft compensation for issuing teams and by the prohibition on multiple QOs for the same player. Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that every free agent class is different — and that every team situation is as well.
Here are this year’s free agents who were extended a qualifying offer by their teams (in alphabetical order):
- Patrick Corbin, SP, Diamondbacks (announced)
- Yasmani Grandal, C, Dodgers (post)
- Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals (link)
- Dallas Keuchel, SP, Astros (link)
- Craig Kimbrel, RP, Red Sox (link)
- A.J. Pollock, OF, Diamondbacks (announced)
- Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP, Dodgers (post)
Several players that were discussed as QO candidates ended up being bypassed — which, generally, is a good thing for their earning power in free agency. Charlie Morton (Astros; post) is the most surprising, with Michael Brantley (Indians; post) and DJ LeMahieu (Rockies; post) among the other conceivable candidates who won’t be weighing offers. Of course, several other prominent players are ineligible to receive a QO because they were traded mid-season (e.g., Manny Machado) or had previously received one (e.g., Nelson Cruz).