The qualifying offer for teams to offer to their free agents will be worth $15.3 million this winter, according to a report from the Associated Press. The new number represents an 8.5% increase from last season, when teams could offer their free agents a one-year, $14.1 million deal to ensure draft pick compensation if they signed elsewhere.
Just like over the previous two years, teams will have until 5 p.m. on the fifth day after the World Series to extend qualifying offers to their free agents before the player has a week to decide whether or not to accept them. All 22 players who have issued qualifying offers over the past two offseasons have declined them, but the major implications on signings due to draft pick compensation will likely have players more apt to accept qualifying offers this year.
Out of this winter's free agent class, there are a few locks to receive qualifying offers: Max Scherzer (Tigers), James Shields (Royals), Hanley Ramirez (Dodgers), Russell Martin (Pirates) and Pablo Sandoval (Giants), while other free agents like Nelson Cruz (Orioles), J.J. Hardy (Orioles), Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays), Victor Martinez (Tigers) and David Robertson (Yankees) will be tougher decisions for their teams.
Impending free agents who were traded during the season are ineligible to receive qualifying offers, meaning that Jon Lester (Athletics) and Brandon McCarthy (Yankees) will not come with draft pick compensation if they leave their teams.