Twelve free agents received qualifying offers from their former teams by Monday's 5 p.m. deadline, as reflected by our Qualifying Offers Tracker. The twelve players are Max Scherzer and Victor Martinez (Tigers), James Shields (Royals), Ervin Santana (Braves), David Robertson (Yankees), Francisco Liriano and Russell Martin (Pirates), Hanley Ramirez (Dodgers), Pablo Sandoval (Giants), Michael Cuddyer (Rockies), Nelson Cruz (Orioles) and Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays).
These players now have exactly one week to notify their teams if they will accept or decline the one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offers, and are now tied to draft pick compensation. If a player declines the offer and signs with a team other than the one who extended the offer, the signing team will have to relinquish a draft pick to the signing team. The top eleven picks in this year's draft are protected, so the Diamondbacks, Astros, Rockies, Rangers, Twins, Red Sox, White Sox, Cubs, Phillies and Reds would only have to give up their second-round picks to sign one of the free agents listed above.
In two seasons since qualifying offers were instituted, all 22 players who have received offers have declined and opted to test the open market. Certain free agents, including Kyle Lohse in 2012 and Santana Cruz, Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales saw their stock as free agents drop tremendously, with the latter pair of players having to wait until after this year's draft to sign.
Though most of this year's crop is expected to decline the offer, speculation is that Liriano or Cuddyer could become the first player in history to accept and return to their team on a one-year, $15.3 million contract. Liriano has posted a sub-3.50 ERA in each of the last two seasons after struggling in 2011 and 2012, and is expected to draw strong interest in free agency, but the draft pick compensation may force him back to the Pirates. The Rockies' decision to extend an offer to Cuddyer surprised many in the baseball world, including teams like the Mets who will likely back off their pursuit of him due to the attachment of the fifteenth overall pick in next year's draft.