Seven free agents received qualifying offers from their 2018 clubs on Friday, giving them 10 days to decide whether to accept a $17.9 million deal for 2019 or test the free-agent market.
The magnificent seven were Patrick Corbin, Yasmani Grandal, Bryce Harper, Dallas Keuchel, Craig Kimbrel, A.J. Pollock and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
• Qualifying offers: Who got one; who didn't?
As a reminder, players like Manny Machado or Josh Donaldson who were traded during the season or those who had previously received a qualifying offer such as Nelson Cruz or Player Page for David Robertson -- or, in the case of Daniel Murphy, who fits into both categories -- were not eligible to receive the offer.
It's important to remember that only five of the 73 players who have received qualifying offers since the system was put into place in 2012 have accepted, though it should be noted that the rules regarding Draft pick compensation were drastically changed last year. They can be found here.
Here are five takeaways from Friday's qualifying offer deadline:
Who might accept?
Harper, Corbin, Keuchel and Kimbrel are virtual locks to decline the offer, as all four are in line for multiyear deals worth far more than $17.9 million. Pollock, too, will likely turn down the offer, though he's not expected to land the same type of deal as the aforementioned quartet.
Grandal and Ryu are the most interesting cases of the group, though neither is certain to accept. Grandal isn't likely to land a deal worth $17.9 million annually, which would be the fourth-highest average annual value ever for a catcher. But he'll also turn 30 next week, so waiting until next year to land a multiyear deal could be risky, especially when several teams will need catching help this winter.
As for Ryu, who will be pitching in his age-32 season, the $17.9 million salary would likely be much higher than what most industry insiders believe he'll get as an average annual value on a multiyear deal. The Dodgers are apparently willing to overpay Ryu in 2019 in exchange for being able to sign him for only one year.
Hard to Believeland?
The Indians declined to extend offers to Andrew Miller, Cody Allen or Michael Brantley, which was surely music to their ears (and those of their agents, of course), as they can shop their services without Draft-pick compensation attached to them in free agency.
It wasn't surprising that Cleveland opted not to make offers to the two relievers given the flush relief market, but given their need for outfield help and Brantley's All-Star 2018 season, the decision not to extend a qualifying offer to the left fielder was a bit puzzling.
Bringing the 31-year-old back on a one-year deal would have been a low-risk move for Cleveland, and as a revenue-sharing team, the Indians would have received a pick between the first round and Competitive Balance Round A if Brantley signed a deal elsewhere worth at least $50 million (or after Competitive Balance Round B if it was less than that). Now the Indians will get nothing if Brantley signs with another club.
Whose market might most be affected?
Of the nine players that received -- and rejected -- the offers last year, Mike Moustakas, Lance Lynn and Greg Holland are back on the market this year, only this time with no strings attached. The three players were all forced to wait until March to sign for 2018, so could any of this year's crop of players receiving qualifying offers face the same situation?
As mentioned earlier, Harper, Corbin, Kimbrel and Keuchel aren't expected to have any problems finding new contracts, while Pollock should also have several suitors. With several teams in need of catching, Grandal shouldn't have an issue finding a team, leaving Ryu as the lone player of the group who could face a similar fate as last year's trio.
The D-backs extended offers to both Corbin and Pollock, assuring that they will receive something if both players elect to sign elsewhere. As a revenue-sharing recipient, that compensation could be significant; Arizona would be awarded a pick between the first round and Competitive Balance Round A for each, provided they sign deals worth at least $50 million as expected.
On the flip side, it was no shock that the Nationals made a qualifying offer to Harper, but if he signs with another team, Washington will receive only a pick after the fourth round of the Draft has been completed because they were one of only two teams to exceed the luxury-tax threshold in 2018. The same goes for the Red Sox and Kimbrel. It's something, but certainly not as much as the revenue-sharing teams will recoup if their qualifying free agents leave town.
Houston, we have no problem
The Astros extended an offer to Keuchel, but they declined to do the same with Charlie Morton and Marwin Gonzalez, both of whom will benefit from the decision.
Morton could be seeking a one- or two-year deal, which has been tricky territory in the past for players with picks attached to them. Mid-range players such as Gonzalez have also struggled to garner interest after receiving a qualifying offer in past years, so the jack-of-all-trades should be able to generate interest from a number of teams now that he won't cost them any Draft picks.