Eight teams issued qualifying offers this year to ten players, with the Nationals and Giants handing out two apiece. Teams issuing the $17.8MM offer must be comfortable with the receiving player accepting, as it isn’t possible to trade such a player (absent consent) until the middle of the season. But in most cases, the offer is given with the expectation it will be declined, thus allowing the issuing team to receive a compensatory draft selection if the player signs with a new club.
As with draft forfeitures, draft compensation is largely tied to the financial status of the team losing the player. And in 2019, seven of the eight teams that issued qualifying offers fall into the same bucket: teams that neither exceeded the luxury threshold nor received revenue-sharing benefits. This applies to the Astros, Nationals, Giants, Mets, Cardinals, White Sox and Braves. In such cases, the default compensation for losing a qualified free agent is applied.
In other words, if any of Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon, Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Zack Wheeler, Marcell Ozuna, Jose Abreu or Josh Donaldson signs with a new club, their former team will receive a compensatory pick between Competitive Balance Round B and Round 3 of the 2020 draft. Those selections would likely fall in the upper 70s and low 80s. Slot values in that range of the 2019 draft checked in between $730K and $700K. The Nationals and Giants, then, could add a pair of Top 100 picks and roughly $1.5MM worth of additional pool money each if they lose both of their qualified free agents.
The lone team that stands to gain a potential pick at the end of the first round would be the Twins, who issued a qualifying offer to Jake Odorizzi. Minnesota is a revenue-sharing recipient that did not exceed the luxury threshold, thus entitling the Twins to the highest level of free-agent compensation possible … if Odorizzi signs for a guaranteed $50MM or more. If Odorizzi’s total guarantees are $49.9MM or lower, the Twins would receive the same level of pick as the other seven teams who issued qualifying offers: between Competitive Balance Round B and Round 3.
Of course, if any of the players who received qualifying offers either accept the offer or re-sign with their 2019 clubs on a new multi-year deal, no draft compensation will be awarded to that team at all.