A record 20 free agents received the $15.8M qualifying offer this year. Here is the list.
No qualifying offer recipient has yet to accept the QO. Will this year be the first in which a free agent accepts?
Past history suggests not. Brett Anderson, Colby Rasmus and Ian Kennedy strike me as the best bets to accept the QO, because all will still be relatively young a year from now, have the most to gain by big seasons in 2016 and have a reasonable possibility that they will have better seasons next year than they did in 2015, or in Anderson’s case prove he can stay healthy two years in a row.
QO recipients have consistently rejected the QO in favor of the very high probability that they will get a bigger guarantee by testing the market, even if it means in many cases they make less per season. This makes a lot of sense, since every player knows he can get hurt at any time. It’s hard to walk away from even an extra $5M or $10M, when the player knows it’s reasonably possible he could have a major injury in the next season.
Someone recently wrote that it’s about time for a QO recipient to bet on himself by accepting the QO, having a good season and then going on the market the next year.
Since Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales got burned by not accepting the QO two years ago, every free agent has received a bigger guarantee by refusing the QO. That could well change this off-season, simply by virtue of the fact that this year’s class is more than 50% greater than any previous QO class. Also, with all the prime free agents in this year’s class who are going to get big deals, the bottom tier of the QO recipients may find it difficult to find teams willing to give them the contracts they are hoping for.