13 pass on qualifying offer; Belt accepts

November 17th, 2021

Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET marked the deadline for the 14 players who were tendered a qualifying offer -- a one-year deal for 2022 worth $18.4 million -- to make their decisions.

Players who accept qualifying offers are signed with their teams for the next season at the designated value; Giants first baseman Brandon Belt was the only player to accept the offer.

Those who didn'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 11 of the 110 players to receive a QO accepted it.

Here's a breakdown of this year's decisions. (Also included below are notable players who didn't receive a QO and players who were ineligible this year, as well as a breakdown of the rules regarding Draft compensation and penalties tied to the QO.)

ACCEPTED QO

Giants: 1B Brandon Belt

The star first baseman of the NL West champs, Belt received a qualifying offer after leading the Giants to an MLB-best 107 wins in 2021. Though a broken thumb suffered on a hit-by-pitch in September forced Belt to miss the postseason, the 33-year-old posted a .975 OPS this season and hit a career-high 29 home runs.

DECLINED QO

Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard

It was uncertain whether Syndergaard would be extended a QO because his situation lately has been complicated. The right-hander pitched only two innings over the past two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but posted a 2.93 ERA and 27 percent strikeout rate over his first four seasons before taking a step back in '19, when he had a 4.28 ERA over 32 starts.

Syndergaard ended up getting a QO, but he landed a bigger one-year deal with the Angels for $21 million. As a result, the Mets will receive a compensation pick in Competitive Balance Round B of the 2022 Draft, between the second and third rounds.

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez

Rodriguez seemed to face an interesting decision with the qualifying offer, missing all of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 and myocarditis before going 13-8 with a 4.74 ERA and 185 strikeouts in 2021. However, the Tigers saw a great deal of upside in Rodriguez beyond his 2021 numbers and worked quickly to sign him to a five-year deal worth at least $77 million (per a source).

The Red Sox will receive a Draft pick after Competitive Balance Round B in the 2022 Draft as compensation for Rodriguez signing elsewhere.

Astros: SS Carlos Correa

Correa is part of a loaded class of free-agent shortstops this offseason, along with others who got a qualifying offer like the Dodgers' Corey Seager, the Rockies' Trevor Story and the Blue Jays' Marcus Semien. The 27-year-old batted .279 with 26 home runs and 92 RBIs in an All-Star 2021 season.

If Correa signs with a different team, the Astros will receive a pick after Competitive Balance Round B in the 2022 Draft.

Blue Jays: IF Marcus Semien

One of two players to receive a qualifying offer from the Blue Jays along with left-hander Robbie Ray, the 31-year-old Semien will not be accepting it. Semien was one of the best signings of last offseason -- he joined Toronto on a one-year, $18 million deal after a down year in 2020, then hit 45 home runs for the Blue Jays in '21.

If Semien signs with a new team this winter, the Blue Jays' compensation pick will come after Competitive Balance Round B in the 2022 Draft.

Dodgers: SS Corey Seager and IF/OF Chris Taylor

Seager, like Correa and Semien, is a superstar shortstop and one of the top free agents on the open market. The 2020 World Series MVP was limited to 95 games in '21, but the 27-year-old still hit .306 with 16 home runs and 57 RBIs. The versatile Taylor is coming off a career year for the Dodgers -- the 31-year-old was a first-time All-Star and batted .351 with four home runs in the postseason.

If the Dodgers lose Seager and/or Taylor to another team in free agency, they'll receive a Draft pick (one for each player they lose) after the fourth round as compensation.

Mets: OF Michael Conforto

The decision to extend Conforto a qualifying offer was expected, due to his strong track record at the plate but underwhelming performance in 2021. Given that, some thought the 28-year-old would accept and try to author a better platform season in '22 before re-entering the market without the QO attached to him. Instead, Conforto and agent Scott Boras will look to land a significant multi-year deal based on Conforto's age and previous success, which includes an .864 OPS from 2017-20.

Should Conforto sign elsewhere, the Mets will receive a compensation pick in Competitive Balance Round B of the 2022 Draft, between the second and third rounds, along with the one they will receive after losing Syndergaard.

Reds: OF Nick Castellanos

Castellanos opted out of the final two years and $34 million of the four-year, $64 million contract he signed with the Reds prior to the 2020 season, and the club made him a qualifying offer. The 29-year-old right fielder had a career year in '21, hitting .309/.362/.576 with 34 home runs, so it's not surprising he opted to become a free agent.

If Castellanos signs elsewhere this offseason, the Reds will receive Draft compensation from the team that signs him, with the type of pick dependent on whether Castellanos signs for more than or less than $50 million. If he signs for more than $50 million, Cincinnati will receive a pick between the first round and Competitive Balance Round A of the 2022 Draft. If he signs for less than $50 million, the Reds will receive a pick after Competitive Balance Round B, which follows the second round.

Rockies: SS Trevor Story

Story joined the list of star shortstops who received a qualifying offer this year, and like the others, he will not be accepting it. The 28-year-old posted his third career 20-20 season in 2021 (and his third in a row if you exclude the shortened 2020 season), hitting 24 home runs to go along with 20 stolen bases.

If Story signs with another team this offseason for at least $50 million, the Rockies will be awarded a compensatory Draft pick between the first round and Competitive Balance Round A in the 2022 Draft. If Story signs with a new team for less than $50 million, the Rockies' compensation will be a pick after Competitive Balance Round B, which follows the second round.

Angels: RHP Raisel Iglesias

The Angels traded for Iglesias from the Reds last December and he had arguably the best year of his career as their closer. The 31-year-old had 34 saves with a 2.57 ERA and 103 strikeouts for the Angels, leading the American League with 59 games finished. That led the Angels to make Iglesias the only reliever to receive a qualifying offer this year.

If Iglesias signs with a different team as a free agent this offseason, the Angels will receive a compensatory pick after Competitive Balance Round B in the 2022 Draft, which is after the second round.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander

Verlander is coming off Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss the entire season. That might've made the 38-year-old veteran more likely to accept the qualifying offer, but a recent showcase that was reportedly attended by 15 to 20 teams saw Verlander hit 97 mph, pushing him in the other direction. It also helped bring him and the Astros back together on a one-year, $25 million deal that includes a player option for 2023.

Blue Jays: LHP Robbie Ray

Like Semien, Ray had a huge year for the Blue Jays after signing a one-year deal after 2020. The 30-year-old southpaw won the AL ERA title with a 2.84 ERA and led the Major Leagues with 248 strikeouts. If Ray signs with another team this offseason, the Blue Jays' compensation will be a pick after Competitive Balance Round B in the 2022 Draft.

Braves: 1B Freddie Freeman

It's no surprise that the 2020 NL MVP and leader of the 2021 World Series champion Braves was extended a qualifying offer. The 32-year-old Freeman, who just finished playing out the eight-year, $135 million contract he agreed to with Atlanta in 2014, batted .300 with 31 home runs, 83 RBIs and a league-leading 120 runs scored this season.

The Braves will receive a Draft pick after Competitive Balance Round B in 2022 if Freeman signs with a new team this offseason.

NOTABLE PLAYERS WHO DID NOT RECEIVE QUALIFYING OFFER

Athletics: Mark Canha
Blue Jays: Steven Matz
Brewers: Avisaíl García
Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw
Giants: Anthony DeSclafani, Alex Wood
Padres: Tommy Pham
Rockies: Jon Gray
Twins: Michael Pineda, Andrelton Simmons
White Sox: Carlos Rodón

INELIGIBILE FOR QUALIFYING OFFER

Not every free agent can receive the QO. Players who have previously received a QO are ineligible, which means the following free agents are not eligible to receive one:

Alex Cobb (Angels), Dexter Fowler (Angels), Zack Greinke (Astros), Brett Anderson (Brewers), Kenley Jansen (Dodgers), Max Scherzer (Dodgers), Kevin Gausman (Giants), Marcus Stroman (Mets), Ian Kennedy (Phillies), Nelson Cruz (Rays), David Robertson (Rays), Wade Davis (Royals), Greg Holland (Royals), Ervin Santana (Royals)

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 include:

Kendall Graveman (Astros), Josh Harrison (Athletics), Starling Marte (Athletics), Joc Pederson (Braves), Eddie Rosario (Braves), Jorge Soler (Braves), Eduardo Escobar (Brewers), Kris Bryant (Giants), Tyler Anderson (Mariners), Javier Báez (Mets), Rich Hill (Mets), Kyle Schwarber (Red Sox), Anthony Rizzo (Yankees)

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 2017-21 Collective Bargaining Agreement rules state that if the team that loses the free agent 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 2022 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.

The following 13 teams currently qualify for these picks: Brewers, Cleveland, D-backs, Mariners, Marlins, Orioles, Pirates, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Tigers and Twins.

• If the team that loses the player does not receive revenue sharing and did not exceed the luxury-tax 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.

The 15 teams in this category: Angels, Astros, Athletics, Blue Jays, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Rangers, Red Sox, White Sox and Yankees.

• If the team that loses the player went over the luxury-tax threshold, the compensation pick will be placed after the fourth round has been completed (as with the previous scenario, it doesn't matter how much the player signs for).

Two clubs exceeded the threshold in 2021: the Dodgers and the Padres.

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, which is a big change that went into effect under the 2017-21 CBA. 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:

• A team that exceeded the luxury tax 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 remaining picks as well.

Teams in this group this offseason: Dodgers and Padres.

• 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 remaining pick.

Teams in this group: Brewers, Cleveland, D-backs, Mariners, Marlins, Orioles, Pirates, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Tigers and Twins.

• All other teams will lose their second-highest selection in the following year's Draft, as well as $500,000 from their international bonus pool for the upcoming signing period. If one of these teams signs two such players, it will also forfeit its third-highest remaining pick and an additional $500,000.

Teams in this group: Angels, Astros, Athletics, Blue Jays, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Rangers, Red Sox, White Sox and Yankees.