The 4pm CT deadline has passed for free agents to accept or reject qualifying offers, and seven of the 10 players issued offers have officially turned them down. An eighth free agent, Will Smith, rejected the Giants’ qualifying offer and left the free agent market even before the deadline passed, signing a three-year, $40MM deal with the Braves. Jake Odorizzi of the Twins and Jose Abreu of the White Sox each accepted their team’s qualifying offers, and will now earn $17.8MM for the 2020 season.
Here are the seven players who rejected their former team’s one-year, $17.8MM qualifying offer….
- Madison Bumgarner (Giants)
- Gerrit Cole (Astros)
- Josh Donaldson (Braves)
- Marcell Ozuna (Cardinals)
- Anthony Rendon (Nationals)
- Stephen Strasburg (Nationals)
- Zack Wheeler (Mets)
There aren’t any surprises in that list, as there wasn’t doubt that Bumgarner, Cole, Donaldson, Rendon, Strasburg, and Wheeler would forego the one-year offer in search of a much richer, multi-year commitment. There was perhaps a bit more uncertainty surrounding Ozuna and Smith, given that Ozuna was coming off a pair of good but unspectacular years in St. Louis and Smith could perhaps have been wary of how the QO would impact his market, given what happened to another closer in Craig Kimbrel last winter.
If anything, the only real surprise occurred on the acceptance side, as Odorizzi was seen as a candidate to receive a multi-year offer before he opted to remain in Minnesota in 2020. Abreu, on the other hand, was widely expected to remain with the White Sox in some fashion, either via the QO or perhaps a multi-year extension. It should be noted that Odorizzi and Abreu are still free to negotiate longer-term deals with their respective teams even after accepting the qualifying offer.
Teams that sign a QO-rejecting free agent will have to give up at least one draft pick and some amount of international bonus pool money as compensation. (Click here for the list of what each individual team would have to forfeit to sign a QO free agent). The Astros, Nationals, Giants, Mets, Cardinals, and Braves are each in the same tier of compensation pool, so if any of their QO free agents signs elsewhere, the six teams will receive a compensatory draft pick between Competitive Balance Round B and the third round of the 2020 draft, or roughly in the range of the 75th to 85th overall pick. Atlanta, for instance, probably didn’t mind giving up their third-highest selection in the 2020 draft to sign Smith since the Braves have another pick coming back to their if Donaldson leaves for another club.
A total of 90 players have been issued qualifying offers since the QO system was introduced during the 2012-13 offseason, and Odorizzi and Abreu become the seventh and eighth players to accept the one-year pact. Odorizzi and Abreu are now ineligible to receive a qualifying offer in any future trips into free agency, so both players won’t be tied to draft/international pool penalties if they hit the open market following the 2020 season.