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What is a Qualifying Offer in Baseball?

What is exactly is a Qualifying Offer in the MLB? It sounds complicated, but it’s actually quite simple, and important to understand.

J.T. Realmuto by Ian D'Andrea is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

What is a Qualifying Offer in Baseball?

Estimated Reading Time: 2 Minutes

As the MLB Offseason begins to heat up, the word “Qualifying Offer” is going to be said a lot. What is a Qualifying Offer? It sounds complicated, but it’s actually quite simple.

For the players in 2020, a Qualifying Offer (or QO for short) is a one-year deal worth $18.9 million dollars. Not a bad chunk of change. However, most players getting these offers are looking for a longer contract with more money attached. Free Agents like JT Realmuto, Trevor Bauer, George Springer, and Marcus Semien, could be looking to cash in on the open market. For those players, a QO just isn’t worth it.

For an MLB team? Qualifying Offers are a way to get compensated for an expected Free Agent loss. Think of it as a pretty decent consolation prize. Marcus Stroman might receive a QO from the Mets, but should get a bigger deal elsewhere. If he does, the Mets can cash in as he walks.

Here’s what MLB teams get if a player rejects a QO:

For teams that sign a qualified free agent…

A team that received revenue sharing the previous season will forfeit its third-highest selection upon. Signing a second qualified would result in the loss of that team’s fourth-highest selection. Signing a third would result in the loss of its fifth-highest selection.

A team that did not receive revenue sharing and also did not pay any luxury tax penalties would lose its second-highest selection as well as $500K of the league’s allotted international bonus pool. Signing additional qualified free agents would result in forfeiting the third-highest selection and another $500K of international allotments.

A team that paid luxury tax penalties must forfeit both its second- and fifth-highest selections in the 2019 draft and forfeit $1MM of international funds. Signing a second would result in the loss of that team’s third- and sixth-highest picks, plus another $1MM in international funds.

For teams who lose qualified free agents…

A draft pick after Competitive Balance Round B draft pick will be awarded if the team losing the free agent did not receive revenue sharing or if the free agent in question signed a contract worth less than $50MM in guaranteed money.

A post-Round 1 draft pick will be awarded if the team losing the free agent received revenue sharing and the free agent in question signed for more than $50MM.

A post-Round 4 draft pick will be awarded if the team losing the free agent paid luxury tax penalties in the preceding season.”

Sounds simple? That’s because it is.

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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