The qualifying offer -- at one year, $17.8 million -- would have been a pay cut for both players, who will be seeking nine-figure long-term deals in free agency. Rejecting the qualifying offer still allows both Rendon and Strasburg to be free to negotiate with the Nationals. Their agent, Scott Boras, met with general manager Mike Rizzo at the GM Meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Wednesday. The Nats still have interest in trying to bring back both stars, who helped them win the World Series last month.
Since the beginning of the qualifying-offer system in 2012, only six of the 80 players who had been extended the offer have accepted it.
If either Rendon or Strasburg signs with another team, Washington would receive a pick after Competitive Balance Round B at the MLB Draft in June in return. Generally speaking, if a player rejects his qualifying offer and signs elsewhere, the club he left will receive Draft-pick compensation. The club that signs him will forfeit a Draft pick, and in some cases, multiple picks. The value of those picks varies based on whether or not a club receives (or pays into) revenue sharing and whether or not the player’s new contract exceeds $50 million (full explanation here).
If a player accepts a qualifying offer, he and the club are locked into a one-year contract worth $17.8 million for the 2020 season. It should be noted, however, that players who reject a qualifying offer are still free to negotiate a new deal -- for one year or multiple years -- with their original team. Also, players are ineligible to receive a qualifying offer if they were traded during the preceding season (like Nicholas Castellanos from the Tigers to the Cubs this past summer, for example) or if they have received a qualifying offer before (like Yasmani Grandal, who got one from the Dodgers last offseason).