Cleat Geeks

What are Qualifying offers?

Before free agency can officially begin in baseball there is one last step, qualifying offers. A qualifying offer is an amount of money that teams can deem to offer their free agent players that is based upon the average annual salary of baseball’s top 125 players of the preceding year. The amount is good for only a one year contract since the average annual salary differs from one year to the next. So what was the average annual salary of the top 125 players last year? It was $15.3 million and of the 121 free agents that are now on the open market (according to the MLBPA) 12 of them received qualifying offers from the clubs they spent last year with.

The list of those 12 players are as follows in no particular order. The Detroit Tigers decided to give the offer to 2 of their free agents in Max Scherzer and Victor Martinez. The only other team who offered more than 1 player were the Pittsburgh Pirates as they did so with both catcher Russell Martin and starting pitcher Francisco Liriano. Other starting pitchers who received qualifying offers were; James Shields of the Royals, and Ervin Santana of the Braves along with closer David Robertson of the Yankees. There were 2 infielders as well who can make $15.3 million in Hanley Ramirez of the Dodgers and Pablo Sandoval of the Giants. And lastly there were 3 outfielders in Nelson Cruz of the Orioles, Melky Cabrera of the Blue Jays and Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies.

I was surprised that the usually conservative Pittsburgh Pirates were willing to shell out over $30 million on two players. And I was surprised that the Rockies made a qualifying offer to Cuddyer. Of these 12 players, the only person who I see excepting the offer is Michael Cuddyer. I think everyone else on this list will either sign contracts for more money per year or contracts in excess of five years to close to the offer money. But, if any of these players do sign with other teams, then the team who made the qualifying offer will receive compensation picks n the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. So, not only will the team who signs the player have to pay the player but they will also have to give their draft pick to the team who made the qualifying offer.

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