The deadline for MLB teams to extend a qualifying offer to free agents was 5 p.m. ET on Friday. The offer is a one-year deal worth $17.9 million for 2019. Once extended, players have 10 days to either accept or reject the offer. If a player rejects a qualifying offer, then he becomes a free agent.
This system has been in place for the past six offseasons. There have been 73 qualifying offers extended and the only players to ever accept the offer have been Jeremy Hellickson, Neil Walker, Matt Wieters, Colby Rasmus and Brett Anderson.
Players traded midseason such as Manny Machado and Andrew McCutchen aren't eligible to be extended a qualifying offer. As well, under the new rules a player who has previously received a qualifying offer can't receive one a second time. That explains why Nelson Cruz did not get a qualifying offer this time around.
If a player rejects a qualifying offer and signs elsewhere, the former team will get draft pick compensation. As well, the team that signs a free agent who rejected a qualifying offer will lose one or more draft picks.
Players receiving qualifying offer
According to multiple reports, just seven players received qualifying offers this year. This is the lowest total since the qualifying offer was instituted. Here are the players who reportedly received qualifying offers:
- Patrick Corbin, SP, Diamondbacks
- Yasmani Grandal, C, Dodgers
- Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals
- Dallas Keuchel, SP, Astros
- Craig Kimbrel, RP, Red Sox
- A.J. Pollock, OF, Diamondbacks
- Hyun-jin Ryu, SP, Dodgers
If there's a surprise among these, it's Ryu, who thanks to injuries has totaled just 213 2/3 innings since the start of the 2015 season. Otherwise, the remaining names were all fairly obvious calls on the part of the respective clubs.
Notable players not receiving qualifying offer
- None of the Indians. Michael Brantley, Andrew Miller and Cody Allen all hit the open market unfettered. They aren't the only free agents leaving the Indians, but the most notable aside from Josh Donaldson (who wasn't eligible for QO).
- The Rockies didn't offer any either, so DJ LeMahieu, Adam Ottavino and Carlos Gonzalez are totally free.
- The Astros made a pair of somewhat surprising decisions by declining to make qualifying offers to Charlie Morton and Marwin Gonzalez.
- As noted above, prominent free agents Manny Machado, Andrew McCutchen, and Nelson Cruz were not eligible to receive qualifying offers.