Major League Baseball clubs had until Monday to make a qualifying offer to their own free agent players, which makes them eligible to receive a supplemental first round draft pick as compensation should those players sign with a new club. The qualifying offer for the 2015 season is $15.3 million, which would be for one year.
The amount of the offer increased from $14.6 million a year ago, when nine players received qualifying offers. In the two years that the qualifying offer system has been in place, no player has yet accepted the offer. Two players of the nine last year did re-sign with their former clubs, leaving seven clubs to receive a compensation pick.
The Detroit Tigers made two of the 12 offers -- their first qualifying offers since the new system was established -- to Max Scherzer and Victor Martinez. The two are believed by many to be the best pitcher and the best hitter on the free agent market this offseason.
|Max Scherzer||RHP||Detroit Tigers|
|Victor Martinez||DH||Detroit Tigers|
|Hanley Ramirez||SS||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Pablo Sandoval||3B||San Francisco Giants|
|James Shields||RHP||Kansas City Royals|
|Russell Martin||C||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Francisco Liriano||LHP||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|Michael Cuddyer||OF||Colorado Rockies|
|David Robertson||RHP||New York Yankees|
|Melky Cabrera||OF||Toronto Blue Jays|
|Ervin Santana||RHP||Atlanta Braves|
|Nelson Cruz||OF/DH||Baltimore Orioles|
If last year is any indication, the six supplemental picks ranged from numbers 28 to 34 overall in the draft. The picks are distributed to teams in the reverse order of the finish in the previous season's standings. They often fall in what would have been the late first round due to the fact that some teams will lose their own first round pick for signing one of the players who rejected a qualifying offer.
This could be the first year that a player accepts a qualifying offer. Cuddyer is 35 years old and not likely to receive a bigger salary or a large multi-year contract. Liriano may be hampered by the qualifying offer, as were Steven Drew and Kendrys Morales a year ago. Neither Drew nor Morales signed until the compensation penalty expired in mid-June.
The top 11 picks in next year's draft are protected, meaning those clubs -- including the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Texas Rangers -- would not lose their first round pick to sign one of these 12 players. Instead, they would lose their next available pick, even if that pick is a compensation pick.
The Tigers would welcome the opportunity to make a couple of extra first round selections in 2015. The farm system is still recovering from the loss of first round picks for three consecutive years, due to the signings of Martinez, Jose Valverde, and Prince Fielder. However, they would gladly give up a draft pick if they could keep their current star players on the roster.