SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Toronto Blue Jays have extended $17.2 million qualifying offers to free agents Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista but not to Michael Saunders, who is free to sign with other clubs without the penalty of a compensatory draft pick.
The offers, made ahead of Monday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline, will be rejected by the two sluggers, who are among the top offensive players poised to hit the open market at 12:01 a.m. ET Tuesday when free agents can begin negotiating with all 30 teams.
The cost of a draft pick to sign a qualified free agent can reduce interest in a player, but that won’t affect Encarnacion or Bautista.
Saunders, on the other hand, may have faced a much tougher market if he was tied to a qualifying offer, making him more likely to accept the strong salary for one season. After an all-star worthy first half gave way to a quiet second half, the Blue Jays didn’t feel they could risk paying him that much.
The Blue Jays extended Marco Estrada a qualifying offer last fall, choking off the right-hander’s free agency. He re-signed for $26 million over two years.
Players have until 5 p.m. ET Nov. 14 to make a decision on their qualifying offer.