Giants first baseman Brandon Belt was the only one of the fourteen players tagged with the one-year, $18.4MM qualifying offer this offseason to accept the deal, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (Twitter link). That means players like Justin Verlander, Freddie Freeman and Robbie Ray have all declined the offers, as had been anticipated.
Verlander was the only one of the aforementioned trio who ever looked like a realistic possibility to accept the QO, as he’s coming off a season lost to Tommy John surgery recovery and turns 39 years old in February. Astros owner Jim Crane told reporters last month that Verlander was looking for a contract “of some length,” though. He and his representatives found that multi-year pact on the open market, as Verlander quickly re-signed with Houston on a two-year guarantee with an opt-out possibility after 2022.
Freeman and Ray, meanwhile, made the very easy call to turn the QO. They’re among the top handful of players in this year’s class, with each likely to land a five or six-year deal that pushes well north of $100MM. There was no incentive for either player to entertain the possibility of taking a QO, since declining has no impact on their ability to continue to negotiate a longer-term arrangement with their incumbent clubs, as Verlander did with the Astros.
Here’s a full rundown of the players who rejected the qualifying offer (all other decisions had been previously reported):
- Nick Castellanos, Reds
- Michael Conforto, Mets
- Carlos Correa, Astros
- Freddie Freeman, Braves
- Raisel Iglesias, Angels
- Robbie Ray, Blue Jays
- Eduardo Rodríguez, Red Sox (later signed with Tigers)
- Corey Seager, Dodgers
- Marcus Semien, Blue Jays
- Trevor Story, Rockies
- Noah Syndergaard, Mets (later signed with Angels)
- Chris Taylor, Dodgers
- Justin Verlander, Astros (to re-sign with Astros)