Posted on November 8, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
Monday was the deadline for MLB teams to make a qualifying offer of $17.2 million to players who are about to enter free agency in an effort to bring them back for another year or receive a compensatory draft pick if they sign with another team. Ten players ended up receiving offers, as most teams decided to take a cautious approach after 20 players received an offer last season. Those 10 players now have until next Monday to decide if they want to accept the offer or stay on the open market.
The Dodgers, Mets, and Blue Jays all made qualifying offers to multiple players, opening the door for them to receive two extra draft picks. The Dodgers offered to both closer Kenley Jansen and third baseman Justin Turner. Jansen is unlikely to accept the offer, as he will be one of the most sought after relievers on the market this winter. Turner, however, may be inclined to take it, as his numbers have slowly declined over the past couple of years, although this may be his last opportunity to sign a lucrative, long-term deal.
The Mets offered both outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and second baseman Neil Walker. Offering Cespedes was a no-brainer after he opted out of his deal with New York. The Mets are still hoping to re-sign Cespedes, but it could take a five-year deal and more than $100 million to make it happen. Walker is a different story, as he may be inclined to accept the offer after missing the final month of the season due to injury. The fact that Walker received a qualifying offer and would cost a team a draft pick could hurt his value on the open market.
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The Blue Jays, as expected, made a qualifying offer to both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion, although they decided not to make an offer to Michael Saunders. Bautista and Encarnacion are both expected to decline the offer and seek long-term deals elsewhere, as it appears unlikely that Toronto will be able to re-sign both, or even one of them.
The Cubs made an offer to center fielder Dexter Fowler after Fowler decided not to exercise his option with the team for 2017. Chicago may not have room for Fowler next season, but they know that he will once again be seeking a multi-year deal, and coming off one of the best seasons of his career, the Cubs know he will likely decline the qualifying offer and get them an extra draft pick.
Another player who’s a lock to decline the $17.2 million qualifying offer is Mark Trumbo of the Baltimore Orioles. After leading the majors in home runs this season, Trumbo is bound to attract a lot of attention this winter, so there’s little chance he will return to the Orioles on a one-year deal.
Two interesting cases to watch over the next week are Jeremy Hellickson of the Philadelphia Phillies and Ian Desmond of the Texas Rangers. The Phillies wouldn’t mind Hellickson accepting the offer, but they are betting that a weak free agent class with regard to starting pitchers will force Hellickson to decline, knowing he’s likely to receive multi-year offers on the open market.
As for Desmond, he declined a qualifying offer from the Nationals last year, only to end up signing a one-year deal for $8 million with the Rangers. Texas wouldn’t mind having Desmond back next year, making it a relatively easy decision to offer him. However, it remains to be seen if last year’s experience makes Desmond more inclined to accept a qualifying offer this year or test the free agent market for a second straight year.