The MLB Hot Stove is starting to heat up as the league nears an important deadline that will likely have an impact on certain players this winter; teams have until 5 p.m Monday to extend qualifying offers to prospective free agents.
Ken Woolums of Beyond the Boxscore explains how the qualifying offer works:
A qualifying offer is a one-year contract offer for the average salary of the 125 highest paid players in the game. If an offer is not made, there is no restriction on a player's free agency status. If an offer is made and the player accepts, the player will essentially be signed to the one-year deal. If the player declines, the player gets a compensation tag attached to his name--meaning the signing team surrenders its highest available non-protected pick to the team that lost the player.
This season, the value of a qualifying offer is worth $14.1 million. Players can accept a qualifying offer and continue negotiating with the team.
Nine players received qualifying offers last offseason, and more players seem likely to receive offers this offseason, based on early reports. Some teams will wait until the deadline to make a final decision, while others have announced that they will not offer the one-year contract to their players. Players who were traded midseason are ineligible for the QO, which could help them earn more money on the open market.
Below is a list of some of the top free agents on the market, along with their expected qualifying offer status:
Expected to receive QO
Robinson Cano - Yankees
Jacoby Ellsbury - Red Sox
Shin-Soo Choo - Reds
Brian McCann - Braves
Ervin Santana - Royals
Hiroki Kuroda - Yankees
A.J. Burnett - Pirates
Mike Napoli - Red Sox
Stephen Drew - Red Sox
Nelson Cruz - Rangers