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Blue Jays extend qualifying offer to Melky Cabrera

The team hopes to retain their switch-hitting outfielder for 2015 and beyond.

Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays have officially extended a $15.3 million qualifying offer to outfielder Melky Cabrera, as Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com first reported back in September. Though Cabrera is likely to decline the offer in an effort to test the open market, today's news ensures that the Jays will receive a compensatory draft pick if Cabrera signs elsewhere.

The sides recently opened talks about an extension to keep Cabrera in Toronto, as Heyman reported. At this point, it appears likely that Cabrera will test the open market once players are able to receive formal offers from teams starting on Tuesday.

The Dominican outfielder delivered a successful 2014 season, hitting .301/.351/.458 with 16 home runs, after suffering a below-average 2013 marred by a tumor growing on his spine. According to Heyman, Cabrera seems to like being in Toronto.

"I love the city of Toronto, I have great teammates, a great club," Cabrera recently told Blue Jays writers. "This was the club that gave me the opportunity after I got in trouble [with a 50-game PED suspension] a few years ago and I want to stay."

The Blue Jays have been rewarded for putting faith in Cabrera after his PED suspension, and keeping him, of course, would be beneficial. However, one wonders how much it would take to retain the outfielder. Cabrera is one of the top bats in an upcoming free agent market that is thin on bats. Because Cabrera has proved he can be a solid hitter without the PED's, there should be stronger interest in Cabrera than two years ago if he hits the open market.