Ohtani, 6 others turn down qualifying offers

December 10th, 2023

Seven players were tendered a qualifying offer (a one-year, $20.325 million deal for 2024) this offseason, but none accepted as the 4 p.m. ET deadline passed on Nov. 14.

Players who accept qualifying offers are signed with their teams for the next season at the designated value. Those who don't accept remain free agents, and if a new team signs them, their old team receives Draft pick compensation.

From the time the system was implemented in 2012, only 13 of the 131 players to receive a QO have accepted it.

Here's a breakdown of this year's decisions, as well as the 2024 Draft compensation each club will receive for losing a QO free agent to another team.

DECLINED QUALIFYING OFFER (STILL UNSIGNED)

, 3B (Blue Jays)
Chapman faded after a red-hot start at the plate in 2023, but he was still an above-average bat on the year (108 OPS+). Factoring in his stellar defense at the hot corner, the 30-year-old was a 4.4-WAR player (per Baseball-Reference) for the Blue Jays. Going back to his first full season in 2018, only three third basemen have posted more WAR than Chapman (28) -- José Ramírez, Alex Bregman and Nolan Arenado.

Blue Jays’ Draft compensation if Chapman signs elsewhere: Pick after the completion of Round 4

, OF (Cubs)
The 2019 NL MVP, Bellinger was non-tendered by the Dodgers last offseason on the heels of posting a .193/.256/.355 slash across 2021-22. The 28-year-old outfielder landed with the Cubs on a one-year deal, and he now gets another shot at free agency after rejuvenating his career with a strong rebound season, hitting .307 with 26 homers, 97 RBIs, 20 steals and an .881 OPS over 130 games.

Cubs’ Draft compensation if Bellinger signs elsewhere: Pick after Competitive Balance Round B

, SP (Padres)
Snell won the NL Cy Young Award in 2023, having recorded an MLB-leading 2.25 ERA -- including a 1.20 ERA over his final 23 starts -- with 234 strikeouts in 180 innings. Though wild at times (he had an MLB-high 99 walks in 2023), the lefty has recorded a 3.20 ERA over 191 career starts.

Padres’ Draft compensation if Snell signs elsewhere: Pick after the completion of Round 4

, RP (Padres)
After a rough two-month stretch led to a career-high 5.22 ERA in 2022, Hader put together an outstanding season from start to finish in 2023. The left-hander recorded a 1.28 ERA with 33 saves and 85 K’s in 56 1/3 innings. Hader, 29, owns a career 2.50 ERA with a 0.94 WHIP and a 15.0 K/9 over 349 appearances.

Padres’ Draft compensation if Hader signs elsewhere: Pick after the completion of Round 4

DECLINED QO (SIGNED ELSEWHERE)

DH/SP (Angels)
New team: Dodgers (10 years, $700 million)

Ohtani’s unprecedented run of two-way dominance continued in 2023, up until the point when he suffered a right elbow injury that required surgery. While Ohtani won’t pitch again until 2025, he’s still among the most hyped free agents in baseball history. The 29-year-old won the AL MVP Award for the second time after producing an AL-leading 44 homers with 20 steals and an MLB-best 1.066 OPS on offense, and a 3.14 ERA with 167 strikeouts over 132 innings on the mound. Since the beginning of 2021, Ohtani has recorded 28.5 WAR.

Angels’ Draft compensation: Pick after Competitive Balance Round B

, SP (Twins)
New team: Cardinals (three years, $75 million)

Gray has played for four teams over 11 years in the Majors, but this was his first chance to test free agency. The right-hander is coming off a terrific season, recording a 2.79 ERA, an MLB-leading 2.83 FIP and 183 strikeouts over 184 innings -- his most since he threw 208 for the A’s in 2015.

Twins’ Draft compensation: Pick in between Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A

DECLINED QO (RE-SIGNED WITH SAME TEAM)

, SP (Phillies)
New contract: Seven years, $172 million

Before turning the page in the postseason, Nola had trouble stringing together positive outings in 2023, finishing the regular season with a 4.46 ERA -- up from 3.25 in 2022. However, his durability and strikeout stuff -- he has made at least 32 starts and recorded 200-plus K’s in each of the past five full seasons -- helped him land a $172 million deal from the incumbent Phillies.

NOTABLE PLAYERS WHO DID NOT RECEIVE QO

Astros: OF
Blue Jays: OF , 2B/OF
Brewers: LHP
Dodgers: LHP , DH
Phillies: 1B
Mariners: OF
Marlins: OF
Orioles: RHP
Padres: RHP , RHP , RHP
Rangers: C
Red Sox: OF
Twins: RHP
White Sox: RHP
Yankees: RHP , RHP

INELIGIBLE FOR QUALIFYING OFFER

Not every free agent can receive a QO. Players who have previously received a QO are ineligible, which means the following free agents (and potential free agents with 2024 options or opt-outs) were not eligible to receive one:

(Blue Jays), (Blue Jays), (Brewers), (Brewers), (Cubs), (Dodgers), (Dodgers), (Giants), (Giants), (Giants), (Giants), (Marlins), (Phillies), (Rangers), (Rangers), (Rangers), (Red Sox), (Royals), (Tigers), (Twins), (White Sox)

Players who weren't continuously with an organization, either in the Minors or Majors, from Opening Day until the end of the regular season are also ineligible. Notable free agents in this category who weren’t mentioned above include:

(Angels), (Blue Jays), (Cubs), (D-backs), (Dodgers), (Guardians), (Marlins), (Orioles), (Rangers), (Rangers), (Reds)

Compensation for losing players who reject their QO

If a team gives a qualifying offer to a player who then signs elsewhere, the club that lost the player is eligible for Draft pick compensation the following year.

• Competitive Balance Tax payors: If the team that loses the player went over the CBT threshold, the compensation pick will be placed after the fourth round has been completed. The value of the player's contract doesn't matter in this case.

• Revenue-sharing recipients: If the team that loses the player is a revenue-sharing recipient, based on its revenues and market size, then the selection -- if and only if the lost player signs for at least $50 million -- will be awarded a pick between the first round and Competitive Balance Round A of the MLB Draft. If the player signs for less than $50 million, the compensation pick for those teams would come after Competitive Balance Round B, which follows the second round.

• All other teams: If the team that loses the player does not receive revenue sharing and did not exceed the CBT salary threshold the previous season, its compensatory pick will come after Competitive Balance Round B. The value of the player's contract doesn't matter in this case.

Penalties for signing players who reject their QO

Any team that signs a player who has rejected a qualifying offer is subject to the loss of one or more Draft picks. However, a team's highest first-round pick is exempt from forfeiture. (Players who are unsigned after the start of the MLB Draft in the year that follows the rejection of their qualifying offer are no longer tied to Draft pick compensation and can be signed without their new club needing to forfeit a Draft pick.)

Three tiers of Draft pick forfeiture -- based on the financial status of the signing team -- are in place to serve as a penalty for signing a player who rejected a qualifying offer:

• Competitive Balance Tax payors: A team that exceeded the CBT threshold in the preceding season will lose its second- and fifth-highest selections in the following year's Draft, as well as $1 million from its international bonus pool for the upcoming signing period. If such a team signs multiple qualifying-offer free agents, it will forfeit its third- and sixth-highest picks as well.

• Revenue-sharing recipients: A team that receives revenue-sharing money will lose its third-highest selection in the following year's Draft. If it signs two such players, it will also forfeit its fourth-highest pick.

• All other teams: If a team does not receive revenue sharing and did not exceed the CBT salary threshold in the previous season, it will lose its second-highest selection in the following year's Draft, as well as $500,000 from its international bonus pool for the upcoming signing period. If one of these teams signs two such players, it will also forfeit its third-highest pick and an additional $500,000.

These are classifications for each team that will determine the Draft picks they receive (for a departing QO player) or forfeit (for signing a QO player).

Competitive Balance Tax payors: Blue Jays, Braves, Dodgers, Mets, Padres, Phillies, Rangers, Yankees

Revenue-sharing recipients: Athletics, Brewers, D-backs, Guardians, Mariners, Marlins, Orioles, Pirates, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Tigers, Twins

All other clubs: Angels, Astros, Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, Nationals, Red Sox, White Sox