clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Which MLB free agents are likely to receive a qualifying offer?

Here is a list of Major League Baseball's most prized free agents during the 2015-2016 offseason and which are likely to be subject to draft pick compensation.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

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
Player Team 2015 salary Agent Notes
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
Player Team 2015 salary Agent
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
Player Teams 2015 salary Agent
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.