MLB clubs are hard at work this week. Either preparing for the next playoff game or preparing for next season, every club is staying busy. With the World Series just around the corner, front office personnel for each club is flurrying about, attempting to decide who to issue qualifying offers to.
Each organization has until the end of the fifth day after the World Series to issue qualifying offers. There is no set date, as the World Series timeline fluctuates based upon the number of games it takes, as well as the number of outings played in the ALDS/NLDS and ALCS/NLCS.
When a team issues a qualifying offer, the player has one week afterward to decide to take the deal or not. If the player refuses the qualifying offer, and signs with another Major League Baseball team before the amateur draft in June, the issuing team will receive a compensatory draft pick. Those picks are made at the end of the first round of the draft. If a club signs a player who refused to accept a qualifying offer, that club will lose their first-round draft pick. If an organization’s pick falls within the first 10, they will keep that pick and give up their next highest.
The pay rate for a qualifying offer has increased for this next period. Last year, it was valued at $15.8 million. This time, a player could get $17.2 million, an 8.9% increase over the previous amount. That’s a pretty big increase, but one that was expected as 2016 contracts saw pretty high values.
To determine the value of the qualifying offer, Major League Baseball takes the average of the top 125 contracts, by average annual value (AAV). That average determines the offer amount, and it is set for any and all players who are eligible to receive it.
History was made last year, as it was the first time a player chose to accept a qualifying offer from a team since the newest bargaining agreement was accepted just a few years ago. Now that the total payout is at an all-time high during this new bargaining agreement era, I expect to see more players jump on the qualifying offer more willingly. The values of previous qualifying offers were: $13.3 million (2012), $14.1 million (2013) and $15.3 million (2014).
There are several well-known, highly talented players hitting the free agent market. Be on the lookout for news on Jose Bautista, Aroldis Chapman, Edwin Encarnacion, Yoenis Cespedes and more.