Major League Baseball has set the dollar amount for qualifying offers for the 2015-2016 off season at approximately $15.8 million. The exact amount will be determined once the total of performance bonuses has been calculated, as it is equal to the average of the top 125 salaries in baseball. The required offer was $15.3 million for the 2015 season.
Teams have until five days following the end of the World Series to make a qualifying offer to their pending free agents. Those players then have seven days to accept the $15.8 million contract or reject the offer. The qualifying offer must be made to receive draft pick compensation for players lost via free agency. If a player declines a qualifying offer and signs elsewhere before the next MLB amateur draft, their former team is eligible to receive draft pick compensation.
Teams who sign a player that has rejected a qualifying offer must surrender their highest unprotected draft pick in the following amateur player draft, held in June. The first 10 draft draft picks are protected, including the Detroit Tigers' No. 9 overall selection. The Tigers would instead lose their second round selection if they sign a qualified free agent this offseason.
Likely to receive a qualifying offer
|Brett Anderson||Dodgers||$10 million||The Legacy Agency|
|Wei-Yin Chen||Orioles||$4.75 million||Scott Boras|
|Chris Davis||Orioles||$12 million||Boras Corporation|
|Dexter Fowler||Cubs||$9.5 million||Excel Sports Mgmt|
|Alex Gordon||Royals||$12.5 million||Casey Close||Has a $12.5 million player option for 2016|
|Zack Greinke||Dodgers||$25 million||Excel Sports Mgmt||Opted out of a six-year, $147 million contract|
|Jason Heyward||Cardinals||$7.8 million||Excel Sports Mgmt|
|Hisashi Iwakuma||Mariners||$7 million||Wasserman Media Grp|
|Howie Kendrick||Dodgers||$9.5 million||Larry Reynolds|
|John Lackey||Cardinals||$507,500||Steve Hillard|
|Jeff Samardzija||White Sox||$9.8 million||Wasserman Media Grp|
|Justin Upton||Padres||$14.5 million||Larry Reynolds|
|Jordan Zimmermann||Nationals||$16.5 million||Relativity Baseball|
These players will likely be offered a one-year contract for $15.8 million, and will almost surely decline those offers to pursue multi-year contracts via free agency. Alex Gordon has previously vowed to exercise his player option, but he will make a lot more money as a free agent. Greinke will cash in on a fantastic season and seek one of the most lucrative contracts signed in baseball history.
Possibly will receive qualifying offer
|Ian Desmond||Nationals||$11 million||Sports One Athlete Mgmt|
|Marco Estrada||Blue Jays||$3.9 million||TWC Sports|
|Yovani Gallardo||Rangers||$14 million||Bobby Witt|
|Ian Kennedy||Padres||$9.85 million||Scott Boras|
|Daniel Murphy||Mets||$8 million||ACES|
|Colby Rasmus||Astros||$8 million||Excel Sports Mgmt|
|Denard Span||Nationals||$9 million||Boras Corporation|
|Matt Wieters||Orioles||$8.3 million||Scott Boras|
These players are probably not quite worth the $15.8 million salary, but would still likely decline a one-year offer to pursue a multi-year contract. All are coming off good, but not great seasons. Players like Daniel Murphy and Matt Wieters are on the fence, and could potentially ruin their team's best laid plans if they accept the one-year qualifying offer. Wieters and Ian Kennedy, in particular, are interesting cases, as agent Scott Boras has misplayed the market in the past with Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales.
Ineligible to receive qualifying offer
|Marlon Byrd*||Reds/Giants||$8 million||ACES|
|Yoenis Cespedes||Tigers/Mets||$10.5 million||Roc Nation Sports|
|Tyler Clippard||Athletics/Mets||$8.3 million||Excel Sports Mgmt|
|Johnny Cueto||Reds/Royals||$10 million||Bryce Dixon|
|Austin Jackson||Mariners/Cubs||$7.7 million||Boras Corporation|
|Scott Kazmir||Athletics/Astros||$13 million||Greg Genske, Brian Peters, Scott Parker|
|Mike Leake||Reds/Giants||$9.775 million||Dan Horwits, BHSC|
|Mark Lowe||Mariners/Blue Jays||$575,000||Frye McCann|
|Mike Napoli||Red Sox/Rangers||$16 million||Brian Grieper|
|Gerardo Parra||Brewers/Orioles||$6.2375 million||Relativity Baseball|
|David Price||Tigers/Blue Jays||$19.75 million||Bo McKinnis|
|Joakim Soria||Tigers/Pirates||$7 million||Oscar Suarez|
|Chase Utley||Phillies/Dodgers||$15 million||Arn Tellem|
|Ben Zobrist||Athletics/Royals||$7.5 million||Alan Nero|
*$8 million team option for 2016
These players are not eligible for a qualifying offer because they were traded during the season. A player must spend the entire 2015 season with their club to be eligible for a qualifying offer.
Players who are not likely to receive a qualifying offer include the Tigers' Alex Avila and Rajai Davis, the Twins' Torii Hunter, the Mets' Bartolo Colon, the Nationals' Doug Fister, and the Orioles' Darren O'Day. Players who do not receive a qualifying offer, either because they are ineligible or because their teams decide not to offer, may be signed as free agents without the signing club having to pay any compensation.