By 5 pm on Friday, major league teams must make a qualifying offer, a one year contract worth about $ 13.3 million, to their own players who are eligible for free agency or they risk losing the players without compensation. The Tigers will not be offering a contract to any of their free agent players, Delmon Young, Jose Valverde, or Gerald Laird. Anibal Sanchez is not eligible to receive a qualifying offer.
Clubs that make a qualifying offer to a free agent player who signs with another club will receive a supplemental first round draft choice as compensation. Clubs that sign a free agent player who has declined a qualifying offer will lose their highest available draft choice, with the exception that the top ten picks are protected.
Players will have another week to decide whether to accept or decline a qualifying offer, but can sign with any club starting Saturday if they do not receive, or if they decline a qualifying offer.
Following is a list of the players that might receive qualifying offers from their current clubs, and my guess whether they will receive a qualifying offer.
Michael Bourn, CF, Braves; YES The speedy center fielder finished second in the National League in stolen bases with 42, and has the highest WAR of any free agent this off season. The Braves are thought to be unable to afford to meet his demands, but he should receive a qualifying offer.
Melky Cabrera, OF, Giants NO. The major league's leading hitter with a 346 average agreed to be disqualified from the batting title when he was suspended for use of performance enhancing drugs. The Giants left him off their post season roster and if they don't want him back, may not make a qualifying offer. Cabrera may have to settle on a one year contract to rebuild credibility without drugs.
Josh Hamilton, OF, Rangers YES. The troubled Rangers' outfielder appears to be headed out of Texas, but can make over $ 100 million with a multi year contract as a free agent. He is sure to decline the offer.
Torii Hunter, OF, Angels NO. Hunter is coming off a fine season and has said that he'd like to remain with the Angels. However, the Halos appear to be focused on signing pitcher Zack Greinke, whom they traded for during the season. The Angels are trying to unload some other salaries, and Torii may be a casualty of the remodeling project.
Edwin Jackson, RHSP, Nationals YES. The former Tiger dropped Scott Boras as his agent after he was only able to land a one year deal to sign with Washington last winter. Jackson is used to changing hats quite regularly, and will probably do so again. He'll be looking for a multi year deal this winter.
Hiroki Kuroda, RHSP, Yankees YES. The last thing the Yankees need to do is downgrade their pitching rotation, and Kuroda was their most consistent starter after Sabathia in 2012. He'd provide good value if he accepted the qualifying offer, and he may do just that.
Adam LaRoche, 1B, Nationals YES. This is a close call. LaRoche declined his end of a $ 10 million mutual option, but the club hopes to work out a contract with one of the most productive first basemen in the National League, with an OPS of .853 in 2012.. LaRoche probably declines and tries to work out a multi year contract with Washington or elsewhere.
Mike Napoli, C, Rangers NO. Catchers don't make that much money. The former Angel is one of the premier offensive catchers in the game, but is no Molina behind the plate. As a first baseman or DH, his value is not as high and his offensive output not as unique.
Angel Pagan, CF, Giants. NO. The Giants would like to keep Pagan, but $ 13.3 million is a bit above his value. While he will be searching for a multi year contract, the annual salary should be closer to $ 10- 12 million. Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part, as I'd love to have Pagan join the Tigers.
Rafael Soriano, CL, Yankees YES. With Mariano Rivera probably coming back, Soriano isn't interested in returning to a set up role, and his agent, Scott Boras, will hold out for a big payday. He's outta there.
Nick Swisher, OF, Yankees YES. Swisher fancies himself to be one of the premier free agents on the market this winter and would love to stay in the Bronx but will be looking for a bigger payday than a one year deal. He'll find it, but not in New York.
B. J. Upton, OF, Rays YES. While the Rays can't afford to keep Upton, GM Andrew Friedman has never passed up an opportunity to pick up a compensation draft pick for letting a free agent walk away. Upton is very talented but very streaky, like his brother. This case just reeks of an over pay.