The free-agent market took further shape on Monday as six players declined qualifying offers from their previous clubs, attaching Draft-pick compensation to them as they seek new contracts.
Hyun-Jin Ryu was the lone player to accept, so he'll return to the Dodgers on a one-year, $17.9 million deal. Ryu became only the sixth player to accept of the 80 who have been extended qualifying offers since the system was implemented in 2012.
• Qualifying offer rules explained
The other six players who received qualifying offers this year -- Patrick Corbin, Yasmani Grandal, Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel and A.J. Pollock -- declined and are now free agents, albeit with some strings attached.
Will the Draft-pick compensation attached to them have a major impact on any of these free agents?
In years past, some players who rejected qualifying offers struggled to find suitors, though teams signing such players are no longer subjected to the loss of their first-round picks as they once were. This year the pick forfeited is based on the team's status in regard to revenue sharing and the competitive-balance tax, and every team's highest first-round pick is protected.
The teams interested in Harper are unlikely to care about the Draft-pick compensation, considering the type of dollars they will be committing in order to bring in a face-of-the-franchise player.
Then again, should a club be deciding between a pursuit of Harper and fellow prized free agent Manny Machado, the fact that Machado won't cost them any Draft picks or affect the size of their international bonus pool could become a factor.
The teams that would pay the heaviest price for signing any player who rejected a qualifying offer are the Nationals and Red Sox, who were the only two clubs to exceed the competitive-balance-tax threshold in 2018.
That means Washington and Boston would sacrifice their second- and fifth-highest selections in the 2019 Draft -- as well as $1 million of international bonus pool for the upcoming signing period -- if they sign one of the five players who rejected qualifying offers and who wasn't on their roster last season. (The Nats would not be penalized for re-signing Harper, and the Sox would not be penalized for re-signing Kimbrel.) Should either team sign two of those players, they would also lose their third- and sixth-highest picks.
The 16 teams that received revenue-sharing money -- the A's, Braves, Brewers, D-backs, Indians, Mariners, Marlins, Orioles, Padres, Pirates, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Tigers and Twins -- would lose their third-highest pick if they sign one of those players who wasn't on their roster last season.
The other 12 teams would lose their second-highest pick in next June's Draft, as well as $500,000 of their international bonus pool. If one of those teams sign two, they would also sacrifice their third-highest pick and an additional $500,000 of their international bonus pool.
The biggest winners of the early weeks of the offseason might be Keuchel and Corbin. With Ryu accepting the qualifying offer, Clayton Kershaw re-signing with the Dodgers, David Price deciding not to opt out of his deal with the Red Sox and Carsten Sabathia returning to the Yankees, the market for left-handed pitchers has shrunk considerably.
The rest of the catching market could benefit from the Dodgers' decision to offer Grandal a qualifying offer. Grandal will cost his next team a Draft pick -- two picks if it is the Nationals or Red Sox -- which is good news for free-agent backstops Wilson Ramos, Kurt Suzuki and Martin Maldonado. It could also work in the Marlins' favor as they continue to ponder trading All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto.
Kimbrel is the lone free-agent reliever with compensation attached to him, though he also possesses the lengthiest track record as an All-Star closer, so he shouldn't have a problem landing a multiyear deal in the Kenley Jansen/Albertin Chapman range. For teams concerned about giving up a Draft pick and/or international bonus pool dollars, the market also includes Jeurys Familia, Player Page for David Robertson, Zach Britton, Andrew Miller, Adam Ottavino and Kelvin Herrera, leaving numerous late-inning options.