NEW YORK — Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Mike Moustakas and outfielder Lorenzo Cain were among nine free agents who received $17.4 million qualifying offers from their teams Monday.
Chicago Cubs pitchers Jake Arrieta and Wade Davis also received the offers, as did Tampa Bay pitcher Alex Cobb, Colorado closer Greg Holland, St. Louis pitcher Lance Lynn and Cleveland first baseman Carlos Santana.
Players have until Nov. 16 to accept. If they sign with new teams, their old clubs would get an extra draft pick as compensation — possibly a much lower selection than in the past under the rules in baseball’s new labour contract.
A club signing one of the players who didn’t accept would lose a draft selection — no longer a first-round pick — and possibly part of its international bonus pool allocation for 2018-19.
The 166 free agents could start negotiating contracts with all teams starting Monday evening.
Qualifying offers began after the 2012 season, and none of 34 players given the offers accepted in the first three years. The figure is determined by the average of the highest 125 contracts by average annual value, and three players accepted from among the 20 given $15.8 million offers in 2015: Houston outfielder Colby Rasmus, Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson. Two players accepted from among the 10 who received $17.2 million offers last year: New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker and Philadelphia pitcher Jeremy Hellickson.
The players’ association was concerned some less sought-after free agents had trouble finding deals because of compensation. Mark Trumbo and Jose Bautista didn’t reach agreement until late January last winter.
Under the previous labour contract, a team signing a free agent who didn’t accept a qualifying offer would lose its first-round draft pick, unless it was among the first 10 selections. A team losing a qualified free agent received an extra pick after the first round.
A tiered system was put in place under the labour deal reached last Nov. 30.
Revenue-sharing recipients that do not pay luxury tax receive an additional pick after the first round if a qualified free agent signs elsewhere for $50 million or more and they forfeit their third-highest selection for signing a qualified player: Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colorado, Houston, Kansas City, Miami, Milwaukee, Oakland, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Seattle and Tampa Bay.
The five teams paying luxury tax this year receive an extra selection after the fourth round for losing a qualified free agent who signs for $50 million or more. For signing a qualified free agent, they forfeit their second- and fifth-highest picks and $1 million of their international signing pool that starts next July 2: Detroit, the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, San Francisco and Washington.
The other nine teams receive an additional pick after the Competitive Balance B round if a qualified free agent signs elsewhere for $50 million or more and forfeit their second-highest pick and $500,000 of their next international signing pool: Boston, the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, New York Mets, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Texas and Toronto.
For qualified free agents signing for less than $50 million, teams receive a pick after the Competitive Balance B round, except for the five that pay luxury tax, where the extra pick is always after the fourth round.
In addition, a player can only be given a qualifying offer once in his career.
As the deadline for exercising 2018 options for potential free agents approached:
— Holland declined his $15 million player option, and the Rockies declined a $2.5 million club option on infielder Alexi Amarista, who gets a $150,000 buyout.
–Texas declined an $11 million option on first baseman Mike Napoli, who gets a $2.5 million buyout, and a $4 million option on reliever Tony Barnett, who gets a $250,000 buyout. The Rangers exercised a $6 million option on left-hander Martin Perez, who would have been eligible for salary arbitration.
— Washington catcher Matt Wieters exercised his $10.5 million option.
–Toronto declined a $17.5 million option on Bautista, who gets a $500,000 buyout.
–Baltimore declined a $14 million option on shortstop J.J. Hardy, who receives a $2 million buyout, and a $12 million option on left-hander Wade Miley, who gets a $500,000 buyout. Orioles catcher Welington Castillo declined his $7 million player option.
–Kansas City left-hander Mike Minor declined his $10 million mutual option, which had a $1.25 million buyout.
–Cleveland declined a $7 million option on reliever Boone Logan, receives a $1 million buyout.
–Tampa Bay exercised a $2 million option on right-hander Nathan Eovaldi, who missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery in August 2016.
–Arizona exercised a $2 million option on infielder Daniel Descalso.