- It gives the player an offer for a one-year contract at the median salary of the top 100 players in MLB, which this year is $17.8M. The player can accept or reject this offer. That’s the pretty good part.
- The very bad part is that if the player rejects the offer, any team that signs him will need to give up a second- or third- round draft pick, which hurts the player’s free agent value.
That’s not a huge drop, but free agency has changed a lot the last two years. There are only so many teams that are willing to drop $15M per year or more on a starting pitcher. If Odorizzi can’t guarantee at least a three-year deal for upwards of $40M, he is probably better off taking the $17.8M deal and trying again next year.
A player can only get a qualifying offer once in his career, so Odorizzi would be free and clear next year. He’ll still only be 30 years old, and - provided he has a similar year – a stronger resume, setting him up for a long-term deal. (Let’s not forget that Odorizzi’s combined ERA in 2017 and 2018 was 4.33.) Maybe most importantly, it’s a weaker free agent class; he could be the third best or maybe even second best starting pitcher on the market next year.
If Odorizzi decides against accepting the offer, he might want to have a guaranteed multi-year contract in hand before he has to make a decision by 11/14. That is a tight timeline in what has been a slow-moving free agent market over the last couple of years. Weighing those options, it’s hard to see how Odorizzi would not accept the qualifying offer and return to the Twins next year on the $17.8M, one-year deal in 2020.
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