Here are 10 players who have a very good chance of seeing qualifying offers from their current clubs in the next month.
One day following the conclusion of the World Series, eligible players can file for free agency. Five days later, teams must decide whether they make qualifying offers to their free agents. These offers are the average of the top 125 player salaries in MLB, and this year that amount will be $17.8 million. The player then will have until November 14 to accept the qualifying offer or begin looking for a new contract from all interested MLB clubs.
If the offer is, accepted the team will have that player under contract for one year at $17.8 million. If the player rejects the offer, the club that extended the offer to the player will receive draft pick compensation from the new team that signs them as a free agent. This compensation pick is sacrificed if the player is signed prior to the June MLB draft. This is why we all witnessed Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel signing their free agent contracts this past summer after the draft commenced.
Here’s a list of the 10 most likely players to see their current teams extend them a qualifying offer next month.
Gerrit Cole – Houston Astros
Houston extending a qualifying offer to Cole is absolutely a no-brainer of a decision. He will likely collect close to twice the qualifying offer amount in annual average in his new free agent contract. Cole will obviously reject this offer and negotiate with Astros and other teams for the best deal on the market.
Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco
Like Cole, Bumgarner should have no trouble finding a team that will offer greater than a $17.8 million annual salary in the three- to five-year range. The Giants will benefit from the draft compensation when Bumgarner signs elsewhere.
Anthony Rendon – Washington
Rendon will be one of the most sought-after free agent hitters on the market this year. The Nationals can surely expect Rendon to decline the offer and pursue opportunities on the open market. The risk is minimal for Nationals, who are almost certainly going to see Rendon reject the offer.
Josh Donaldson – Atlanta
The Blue Jays declined to extend a qualifying offer to Donaldson after last season, making him still eligible for the Braves to extend it to him this year. Donaldson ended up signing a one-year, $23 million deal with the Braves last offseason. His performance was steady and he would be providing the Braves a gift if he were to accept the $17.2 million offer to stay another season.
Hyun-Jin Ryu – Los Angeles (NL)
The Dodgers still need reliable starting pitching. Ryu had a career year and would likely decline a qualifying offer and test the free agent market. If he happens to accept the offer, the Dodgers would have one less pitcher to pursue this offseason.
Jose Abreu – Chicago (AL)
Similar to Donaldson’s situation last year in Toronto, Abreu offers tremendous power and the qualifying offer value is there on a one-year contract. The White Sox’ young core could benefit from Abreu’s veteran presence on the 2020 club. If Abreu declines the offer, their farm system will benefit from yet another high draft pick next June.
Nicholas Castellanos – Chicago (NL)
Castellanos was arguably the best performing hitter acquired at last year’s trade deadline down the stretch. The Cubs would seem to be a potential suitor for Castellanos and the one-year qualifying offer would be a starting point for negotiations.
Marcell Ozuna – St. Louis
Ozuna is almost certainly going to test the market, but the Cardinals could still use his bat in their line-up and extending an offer to him is worth the risk for St. Louis. He will likely decline the offer and the Cardinals will benefit from a high draft pick as a result.
Jake Odorizzi – Minnesota
Minnesota needs good starting pitching to complement their line-up. Odorizzi’s presence in their rotation will be missed next season if he departs this winter. Both parties could benefit from a qualifying offer and this would be one that the player might actually consider accepting.
Rick Porcello – Boston
Porcello is coming off a tough year and that’s precisely the reason he’s on this list. Porcello, coming off a good season at 30 years old, would likely command a three- to five-year contract at close to $17 million per season. Coming off a sub-par season, it would make sense for Porcello to consider accepting the qualifying offer, rebounding next season, and looking for a multi-year contract coming off a better season. The Sox are reeling with a series of questionable long-term starting pitching contracts and it would be worth the investment to get another year from Porcello.
Regardless of the ultimate final list of players to receive qualifying offers, the list above is enough to get fans of teams other than the final three excited about Hot Stove season.