With this year’s trade deadline having passed, we have a better idea of which pending free agents could receive qualifying offers in the offseason. Yasiel Puig and Nicholas Castellanos were both dealt, so we know they’ll reach free agency unfettered once the season ends. But there are several other position players who are on track to have the QO weighing them down once they reach the open market in a few months. The offer was valued at $17.9MM last offseason, so teams will be judicious when doling it out. Here’s where things stand…
- None. The Brewers’ Yasmani Grandal is the most appealing catcher who’s heading for free agency, but because the Dodgers slapped him with a QO last winter, he’s not eligible to get one again.
- None. It’s not a great class for first basemen. As explained on Thursday, the White Sox’s Jose Abreu hasn’t performed well enough this year to put himself in QO consideration.
- None. Longtime third baseman and newly minted second basemen Mike Moustakas, yet another Brewer, would be a possible candidate had the Royals not given him a QO a couple offseasons ago.
- Elvis Andrus, Rangers: This is a borderline-at-best case, and it depends in part on whether Andrus decides to opt out of the remaining three years and $43MM left on his contract once the season ends. The soon-to-be 31-year-old Andrus hasn’t been much of an offensive threat dating back to last season, having hit .269/.313/.388 (80 wRC+) with 14 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 852 plate appearances. He could stick with his current deal as a result.
- Didi Gregorius, Yankees: Although Gregorius has missed a large chunk of this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery last fall, he’s a strong bet to collect a QO from the Yankees. The 29-year-old has been among the majors’ most productive shortstops in recent campaigns, though this season’s .271/.305/.465 line (98 wRC+) with seven HRs in 164 PA represents a notable step down compared to the career-best numbers Gregorius managed in 2018.
- Anthony Rendon, Nationals: This will be a no-brainer for the Nationals, as Rendon’s the premier position player without a contract for 2020. A consistently excellent producer since he broke out in 2014, the 29-year-old Rendon’s amid his top season at the perfect time. He has slashed .317/.404/.609 (155 wRC+) with 23 home runs and 4.4 fWAR in 411 trips to the plate.
- Josh Donaldson, Braves: Because the Blue Jays traded him last summer, Donaldson was ineligible to receive a qualifying offer when he entered free agency at the conclusion of the season. He then signed a one-year, $23MM deal with the Braves, and has since raked to the tune of .256/.367/.520 (128 wRC+) with 25 HRs and 3.0 fWAR over 447 PA. Age isn’t on the side of Donaldson, who will turn 34 in December, but the Braves are sure to stick the former AL MVP with a QO.
- J.D. Martinez, Red Sox: As with Andrus, whether Martinez gets a QO will depend on if he opts out of what’s left of his contract. Martinez has three years and $62.5MM remaining, and walking away from that would be quite risky for a defensively challenged soon-to-be 32-year-old. But Martinez is enjoying his sixth straight high-end season at the plate, where he has teed off on pitchers for a .297/.369/.544 line (132 wRC+) and smashed 24 dingers through 451 PA. Martinez is still far from certain to opt out, but if he does, Boston will qualify him.
- Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals: Ozuna, who will turn 29 in November, hasn’t played in over a month because of finger injuries. Before that, the ex-Marlin was on track for his fourth straight above-average season. Ozuna has hit .259/.331/.515 (118 wRC+) with 20 homers and a personal-high .256 ISO in 326 tries. He may not be a slam dunk to earn a QO, but it’s more likely than not.