Bryce Harper, Patrick Corbin, Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, Yasmani Grandal, and A.J. Pollock were the six free agents this year to receive and turn down a one-year, $17.9MM qualifying offer from their teams this month. If those players sign elsewhere, here’s a look at the draft picks the signing team would lose.
Competitive Balance Tax Payors: Red Sox, Nationals
If either of these teams signs a qualified free agent from another team, it must forfeit its second-highest and fifth-highest pick in the 2019 draft. The team will also have its international signing bonus pool reduced by $1MM. Both teams could plausibly sign a qualified free agent, though it’s probably more likely for the Nationals.
Revenue Sharing Recipients: Diamondbacks, Braves, Orioles, Reds, Indians, Rockies, Tigers, Royals, Marlins, Brewers, Twins, Athletics, Pirates, Padres, Mariners, Rays
These 16 teams received revenue sharing and did not exceed the competitive balance tax. If one of these teams signs a qualified free agent, it forfeits its third-highest pick. These teams face the smallest draft pick penalty.
All Other Clubs: Cubs, White Sox, Astros, Dodgers, Angels, Mets, Yankees, Phillies, Giants, Cardinals, Rangers, Blue Jays
These 12 remaining teams would forfeit their second-highest pick and and have their international signing bonus pool reduced by $500K. The penalty is something of a middle ground, but it would sting for a team like the White Sox to sacrifice a pick in the 40s.
What happens if a team signs two of these six free agents? The CBA calls for forfeiture of the next highest available draft pick. For example, if a team has already lost its second and fifth-highest picks and it signs a second qualified free agent, it would lose its third and sixth-highest picks. So as in the past, if you’ve already signed one qualified free agent, the draft pick cost to sign another is reduced.