Friday at 5PM Eastern Standard time marked the deadline for all teams to extend qualifying offers to their potential free agents. Qualifying offers are given out from teams that have departing players in order to be eligible for draft pick compensation. The qualifying offer value changes from season to season and is determined by the average of the top 125 player salaries from the previous season, this offseason’s number is $15.3 million. To be considered eligible for a qualifying offer a player must have played the entire previous season with their team. The players will either accept the offer, or try their luck in free agency which thus far has been the more popular choice.
Sources: Free-agent outfielder Colby Rasmus will accept qualifying offer and return to the Astros for one year, $15.8 million. Story coming.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 12, 2015
Colby Rasmus made headlines by becoming the first player in history to accept a qualifying offer. In 2014 twelve qualifying offers went out and all were rejected. Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reported Friday that Baltimore Orioles Catcher Matt Wieters has followed suite and accepted the offer to stay with the Orioles for at least one more season. Later on, Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted that Brad Anderson has also accepted his qualifying offer making a total of three offers accepted in the first year that any offers have ever been accepted. “If it was going to be a one-year or a shorter contract, [I felt] that there would be no better place for me to feel comfortable as a catcher with my staff as I’d be in Baltimore as well as feel comfortable with the city and the ballpark. One of the big things, too, is my family loves Baltimore and they would be more than ecstatic to be there for another year,” Wieters said.
Brett Anderson accepted the Dodgers’ qualifying offer.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 13, 2015
According to tweets from @MLBRosterMoves, the following players have declined their offer and will enter free agency:
Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy (SD), Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis (BAL), Ian Desmond, Jordan Zimmerman (WAS), Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA), Daniel Murphy (NYM), Yovani Gallardo (TX), Alex Gordon (KC), Howie Kendrick, Zack Greinke (LAD), Jeff Samardzija (CWS), Dexter Fowler (CHC), Jason Hayward, John Lackey (STL).
Marco Estrada was on the list of players eligible for a qualifying offer however the Blue Jays have already signed him on a two year $26 million deal through 2017. If a team signs a free agent who turned down a qualfiying offer they must forfeit their first pick in their following draft. The team who made the rejected qualifying offer does not absorb their pick, however they do gain a compensatory pick at the end of the first round.