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Qualifying Offers Will Impact Twins Offseason Targets

By Sunday afternoon, teams had to decide whether or not to submit qualifying offers to eligible free agents. Minnesota has its eyes on multiple free agent players, so how does the qualifying offer impact their spending options?


According to MLB.com, here is a reminder of the qualifying offer process. “When an eligible player reaches free agency, his former team has the option to extend a one-year offer worth the average salary of the highest-paid 125 players in baseball, which this year is $18.4 million. Players have 10 days to accept or decline; if they accept, they return for 2022 for that $18.4 million; if they decline, they head off into the market as a free agent, with his former team receiving compensation in the form of a Draft pick if they sign elsewhere."

Last winter, Kevin Gausman and Marcus Stroman were the only two players to accept the qualifying offer. Both Gausman and Stroman will enter free agency in a much better position than last winter. However, in the previous nine offseasons, only 10 out of 96 players have accepted the deal. 

For the Twins, their penalty for signing a player is in a group that faces the smallest draft pick penalty. Minnesota is one of 13 teams that receive revenue sharing, so that means they would forfeit their third-highest pick in next year’s draft if they sign a player that received a qualifying offer. If Minnesota signed two qualified free agents, they would forfeit their next highest available draft pick. 

Some players the Twins might be interested in are not eligible for a qualifying offer because they were traded last season or have previously received a qualifying offer. SS Javier Baez and DH Nelson Cruz were both traded last year, so they are ineligible. Starting pitchers Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman, Zack Greinke, and Alex Cobb previously received a qualifying offer. With no qualifying offer attached to these players, more teams will likely be interested in their services since draft pick compensation is not tied to their signing. 

Many of this year’s top free agents had their teams submit a qualifying offer, including names at positions of need for the Twins. Shortstops Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Marcus Semien, and Corey Seager all received an offer and are expected to decline. Starting pitchers in that same category include Robbie Ray, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Justin Verlander. Ray will decline the offer as he is headed for a big payday, while Verlander and Rodriguez may consider accepting.  

Last week, I wrote about how the Twins might be interested in gambling on signing two pitchers coming off of injuries. Noah Syndergaard and Carlos Rodón are both entering this winter in different positions. Syndergaard is just making his way back from Tommy John surgery, which might mean he is interested in a one-year deal to prove he is healthy. Rodón is coming off a career year, but shoulder injuries limited him in the second half. It seems likely for Syndergaard to accept a qualifying offer while Rodón was not issued a qualifying offer. It also sounds like the White Sox are ready to move on from Rodón.

Besides Rodon, two other starting pitchers might be surprised that they didn’t receive qualifying offers. Colorado’s Jon Gray and San Francisco’s Anthony DeSclafani are in the second free agent tier that the Twins front office will likely focus on to fill out the rotation. It sounds like Gray was open to accepting a qualifying offer, and that may have persuaded the Rockies from issuing it. DeSclafani is coming off a tremendous season, but some of his StatCast numbers show that he may regress

Many of the qualifying offers mentioned above were likely expected, so nothing should be surprising for Minnesota’s front office. Now the teams will wait to see what players accept or decline the offers. From there, teams can start making their offseason spending plan. 

Will MLB’s qualifying offer system impact the Twins this winter? Will MLB change their qualifying offer rules? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion. 

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The fact that Rondon did not get a QO should tell you a lot of what Sox think of him and his future going forward arm wise.  Twins Handbook is projecting 18 mil a year for Rondon, which is just about what QO is for.  So if the team he has spent his whole career with thinks he is not worth 18 mil for 1 year, I would be hesitant to sign a long term deal. 

Now, I would be willing to give him a 2 year deal or something like that with no draft pick attached.  Verlander is interesting person to get one.  He is old enough that he would most likely not get more than a 2 year deal, and if he turns down the QO not many teams will want to give up a pick for a short return.  I do not know if Verlander will take it, but my guess if he does not take it, he will either return to Houston, or sign for less than 18 a year. 

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Honestly, didn't the Twins lose Badoo as a rule 5 last year. They got rid of Wade for nothing, etc.... I think the Twins farm system is probably a little too deep with close to MLB ready prospects right now.  Probably wouldn't hurt the Twins at all to lose a pick or two for a guy or two that is MLB proven.  Or trade some of those close to MLB ready kids for a couple of guys that can actually play in the MLB and keep the picks to restock what you traded away?

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On 11/8/2021 at 9:20 AM, PDX Twin said:

When does the "system" change due to the expiration of the current labor agreement? Does that affect these potential signings?

December 1st is the expiration of the CBA. It may impact the signings, but recipents of the QO only have 10 days to accept or decline the offer.

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The Rockies were not going to make Gray a QO because it's obvious he'd accept it and he's not worth $18.4MM / year. I'd expect Gray might be in that $12MM / year range for 2-3 years in free agency. Qualifying offers are only designed to be made to All Star caliber players so players are rarely expected to accept the offer.

Since little is known about how the Twins really plan to proceed, it's tough to gauge how much the QO might impact the Twins' free agency search. The QO compensation pick was reduced quite a bit in 2017 as it became obvious to the MLBPA and players the 2012 QO design was significantly reducing interest and contracts for fringey QO recipients.

These days, it's not nearly as big of a deal unless the signing team is also in the luxury tax world. It gets pretty rough at that point.

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