Of the 14 free agents to receive qualifying offers this winter, nine have already figured out where they will be playing next season, leading to some noteworthy adjustments to the 2022 draft order. For a refresher on the QO rules, you can check this list of what signing a qualifying offer-rejecting free agent would cost each team, or this list of what teams receive as compensation for losing a QO-rejecting free agent.
Or, for simplicity’s sake, you could just read this post right here as a quick summary of the extra picks gained and lost due to these signings. First of all, four of the nine signed players don’t factor into the discussion, since they are back with their former teams — Brandon Belt accepted the Giants’ qualifying offer in the first place, while Raisel Iglesias re-signed with the Angels, Chris Taylor re-signed with the Dodgers, and Justin Verlander re-signed with the Astros.
For the five other signed QO free agents and the five unsigned QO free agents, here is the breakdown of what their former teams would receive as compensatory picks. The specific order of the compensatory picks is based on the previous year’s record, so the team with the fewer wins would get the superior pick.
- Extra pick after Round 1 of the draft: This is awarded to a team that receives revenue-sharing funds, and whose QO-rejecting free agent signs with another team for more than $50MM in guaranteed salary. The Rockies and Reds would therefore each qualify if Trevor Story (Colorado) or Nick Castellanos (Cincinnati) signed for $50MM+. Since the Reds had the better record between the two teams, the Rockies would pick 32nd overall and the Reds 33rd overall if both clubs indeed ended up in this same category. If Story and/or Castellanos signed for less than $50MM, Colorado and/or Cincinnati would be in the next group…
- Extra pick between Competitive Balance Round B and Round 3: Four picks have already been allotted within this group, comprised of teams who don’t receive revenue sharing funds. The Mets received an extra selection when Noah Syndergaard signed with the Angels, the Blue Jays received two picks when Marcus Semien signed with the Rangers and Robbie Ray signed with the Mariners, and the Red Sox got a pick when Eduardo Rodriguez signed with the Tigers. Like Toronto, the Mets could also receive a second pick if Michael Conforto signed elsewhere. The Braves (Freddie Freeman) and Astros (Carlos Correa) would also land in this category if their respective QO free agents left town. The draft order of this sandwich round based on 2021 record would line up as Mets (77 wins), Braves (88 wins), Blue Jays (91 wins), Red Sox (92 wins), and Astros (95 wins). For the moment, the four picks in this group represent the 75th-79th overall selections in the draft, though that specific order will be altered based on where the other QO players sign, or what other second-round picks might be surrendered as penalties for signing those free agents.
- Extra pick after Round 4: For teams that lose a QO free agent but exceeded the luxury tax threshold in 2021, their compensatory pick is pushed back to beyond the fourth round. Therefore, this is where the Dodgers will make their extra pick in the wake of Corey Seager’s deal with the Rangers.
Moving on, here is what the four teams who have signed QO free agents had to give up in draft capital…
- Second-highest 2022 draft pick, $500K in international signing pool money: The Angels didn’t receive revenue sharing funds, and didn’t exceed the luxury tax in 2021. As a result, signing Syndergaard will cost the Angels their second-round draft selection and a chunk of their funds for the next international signing period.
- Third-highest 2022 draft pick: The Mariners and Tigers fall into this category, as teams who received revenue sharing payments in 2021. For Seattle, this is simply their third-round selection. For Detroit, their “third-highest pick” won’t be determined until MLB establishes the order for this year’s Competitive Balance Draft. Depending on which of the two CBD rounds the Tigers are drawn into, their cost for the Rodriguez contract could either be their second-rounder or their pick in Competitive Balance Round B.
- Both their second AND third-highest 2022 draft picks, and $500K in international signing pool money: The Rangers splurged by signing both Seager and Semien, and thus faced twice the draft penalty (both their second-round and third-round picks) for landing a pair of QO free agents. Texas would have faced the same penalty as the Angels if it had signed just one of Seager or Semien.
- Second- and fifth-highest 2022 draft picks, $1MM in international signing pool money: The stiffest penalty is reserved for teams who exceeded the luxury tax threshold last season. Therefore, only the Dodgers and Padres would have to give up multiple picks to sign a single QO free agent, which would surely influence any efforts on their part to pursue Correa, Freeman, Conforto, Story, or Castellanos.