SoSH Glossary: Qualifying Offer

Baseball is filled with statistics, rules, and archaic terms that can often form what sounds like a foreign language. Sons of Sam Horn’s glossary provides a better understanding of these terms through straightforward definitions, clear explanations, and examples pulled straight from the baseball world. If there is anything you would like us to add to our glossary, please contact us.

Qualifying Offer

A Qualifying Offer (QO) is a one-year contract that can be offered to qualified free agents by their previous team. A qualified free agent is a player who has been in the same organization from Opening Day to the end of the World Series. Players traded during the season are not eligible to receive a QO. Players with contract options that were declined (by either the team or the player) are eligible to receive a QO. The value of the qualifying offer is the average of the 125-highest paid Major League-players (with .08% added on to account for bonuses and then rounded off to the nearest $100,000).

How It Works

Teams may extend a qualifying offer to free agents after the “quiet period”, which is the five days after the World Series has concluded. The player then has seven days from receipt of the QO (“acceptance period”) to accept the offer, or he becomes a free agent. If a player declines a QO and signs with another team, that team forfeits its highest pick in the First Year Player Draft. The first ten picks in the draft are protected, so teams with protected picks forfeit their next-highest pick.

Why Do Teams Extend A Qualifying Offer?

Teams that have a departing free agent will extend the QO to players that they believe will earn at least the amount of the QO on the open market. If the player opts for free agency, then his former team will receive a compensatory draft pick in the subsequent First Year Player Draft at the end of the first round before the competitive balance picks. Teams are still allowed to sign a player to whom they extend a QO, and receive no penalty if they sign such a player.

How Does It Work In Practice?

Prior to the 2015 offseason, no player had accepted a QO since the system was implemented in 2013 – sometimes with unfortunate results (such as Stephen Drew, Kendrys Morales, and Ian Desmond). During the 2015 acceptance period, however, three players (Matt Wieters, Colby Rasmus, and Brett Anderson) accepted their QOs.

Pete Hodges has written about the call up of a top prospect, an odd tradition, and Leo the Lip.

Follow Pete on Twitter @PeterWHodges.

LEAVE A REPLY