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It's qualifying offer day in MLB

Friday's Say Hey, Baseball includes the qualifying offer, a Mariners-Rays trade and the Nationals' managerial mess. Subscribe for your daily Say Hey!

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

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At 5 p.m. ET on Friday -- which is today if you're reading this on time -- a number of teams are going to submit qualifying offers to their free agents. We're likely to see a record number of qualifiers, even, as there are 21 players who could reasonably receive one, seven more than the largest total we've seen over the three years of the offer's existence. There is a pretty good chance that at least one of those players is going to be totally hosed by the qualifying offer, too.

If you need a reminder, the qualifying offer is what teams now use for free agent compensation. It was negotiated in the last version of the collective bargaining agreement, and is calculated by the average of the top 125 salaries in baseball. Right now, that figure comes to $15.8 million. So, it's a one-year offer for that amount, and if the player rejects it and hits free agency for real, they remain tethered to their original team thanks to draft pick compensation. Teams will sacrifice their first pick in next summer's draft in order to sign one of these players, unless they have a protected top 10 selection. In that case, they give up their second pick.

For free agents like Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmermann or Alex Gordon, the qualifier is not going to be an impediment for their next deal -- that's just the cost of doing business with high-level talent. For someone like, say, Ian Kennedy or Colby Rasmus, though, it could shrink their market and force them to wait until desperation hits some team in March or even April. We'll find out in just a few hours who the unlucky are, and hey, maybe we'll finally see someone accept the qualifying offer. But probably not.