MLB Qualifying Offer Deadline
Thursday was the deadline for Major League players to accept or decline the one-year qualifying offer tendered by their teams. The qualifying offer is a one year contract for 17.8 million dollars. 10 players had qualifying offers this offseason.
Accepting the Offer
17.8 million dollars is a lot of money to turn down for one years pay. So you can certainly understand why a player would take the offer. But there are other reasons for accepting. Perhaps the market for that player is not in demand. It then becomes a situation where the player is betting on himself. That player can take the offer and become a free agent next season when the market could be in more demand for his services. But that depends on the player having a better season.
Also, there are cases where that player and the club both want a long term contract. By accepting the one year offer this gives both parties more time to agree to a long term contract.
Making the Offer
A Major League team will make a qualifying offer to a player as a way to protect themselves from potentially losing an asset. It is very common for a team to make the offer knowing that the player does want to become a free agent and sign with another team. In this case, the team would be compensated with a draft pick. Any team that does sign a player who declined a qualifying offer will lose at least one draft pick and maybe more.
So tendering a player a qualifying offer is more about business and protecting your franchise than anything else. There have been cases where the team did not want the player back but the player accepted the offer. Neil Walker is a player that fits that scenario. The New York Mets declined to sign Walker long term due to his injury history. When the Mets gave Walker the qualifying offer following the 2016 season of 17.2 million dollars it was not expected he would accept it. Walker did accept the offer and was traded halfway through the 2017 season.
This process has many rules and layers, To view the full rule and all its layers you can check it out at MLB.COM.
Since this process was put into place 90 players have been made an MLB qualifying offer. Only eight players have ever accepted the offer. This year two players accepted. Here is a look at those two players.
Jake Odorizzi of the Minnesota Twins and Jose Abreu of the Chicago White Sox both accepted the qualifying offer of 17.8 million dollars for the 2020 season. The 29-year-old Odorizzi has finally found a home as a Twin. Odorizzi has developed into a solid and dependable starting pitcher that the Twins can build a starting rotation around. He is not an ace pitcher but he is very reliable as his 62 starts in the last two seasons indicate.
The Cuban born Abreu has only known the Windy City as his home in his six-year career. The Pale Hose have gone through a rebuilding phase and are now ready to start to compete. Both Abreu and the White Sox are interested in working out a long term deal. Abreu averages 32 HR and 110 RBI’s a season and his durability is excellent. Abreu has averaged 150 games a season over his career.
Eight players rejected the MLB qualifying offer. Let’s take a look at those players.
Gerrit Cole–Houston Astros– Coming off a career year Cole is set to cash in on a monster contract. Cole is likely to receive the highest contract offer any pitcher will get this offseason. It appears that Cole’s Astros career is over.
Anthony Rendon–Washington Nationals– Rendon just won the World Series with the Nationals and has reportedly already turned down a 30 million a year contract. He has expressed a desire to stay in the nation’s capital.
Stephen Strasburg– Washington Nationals-Another key member of the Nationals championship team. Strasburg had a monster postseason and is set to be paid. However, Strasburg is 30 years old and the 2019 season was his first healthy season since 2014.
Zack Wheeler– New York Mets-Wheeler is a very solid but not spectacular pitcher. With quality stating pitching always in demand Wheeler will have lots of interest. Additionally, he comes with a lighter price tag than Cole and Strasburg. Wheeler has an interest in remaining a Met.
Madison Bumgarner–San Francisco Giants– Perhaps the most intriguing player on this list. Bumgarner has been a mainstay in the Giants starting rotation since 2010. He has pitched so many seasons that we forget he is still only 29 years old. His postseason resume is what teams really crave about Bumgarner. He really steps his game up in the biggest moments.
Josh Donaldson–Atlanta Braves– The 33-year-old Donaldson had a big bounce-back season with the Braves. The former MVP had a five-year stretch where he was arguably the best third basemen in the league. With his age, this could be the last chance for a big payday in the big leagues. Odds are that he will not return to Atlanta.
Marcell Ozuna–St. Louis Cardinals– The 28-year-old outfielder is entering his prime seasons. Ozuna is not a superstar but is a very good baseball player. The Cardinals have a reputation of not letting players dictate contract terms. So it would not be surprising to see Ozuna sign somewhere else.
Will Smith-San Francisco Giants- The first big domino has fallen. On the same day Smith declined the qualifying offer from the Giants he signed a three year 39 million dollar contract with the Braves.