Free agent qualifying offer price set at $15.3M

Melky Cabrera (Patrick Semansky/AP)

NEW YORK — The price of qualifying offers for eligible free agents has risen to $15.3 million from $14.1 million.

The 8.5 per cent increase was finalized Tuesday by Major League Baseball and the players’ association. It is up from $13.3 million after the 2012 season, the first of the new system.

Baseball’s labour contract sets the price at the average of the 125 highest contracts by average annual value.

A club has until 5 p.m. Eastern time on the fifth day following the World Series to make a qualifying offer and a player has until 5 p.m. EST on the 12th day after the World Series to accept it. An offer can only be made to a free agent who was with the team for the entire system.

If a player rejects a qualifying offer and signs a major league contract with another club before the June amateur draft, his former team would receive a draft pick as compensation at the end of the first round.

The club signing that player loses its first-round pick in the following amateur draft, unless that pick is among the top 10, in which case the club signing that player loses its next-highest pick.

None of the 22 qualifying offers made after the last two seasons was accepted.

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