The 2021 MLB offseason began in full earnest last week with the start of free agency. For the Los Angeles Dodgers, it amounted to 11 players officially reaching the open market.
The initial group consisted of Danny Duffy, Cole Hamels, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Knebel, Jimmy Nelson, Albert Pujols, Max Scherzer, Corey Seager, Steven Souza Jr. and Chris Taylor. Joe Kelly has since joined the mix after L.A. declined his $12 million club option for the 2022 season and paid him a $4 million buyout.
Through the Nov. 7 deadline, the Dodgers had the option to extend the $18.4 million qualifying offer to eligible free agents. Of the aforementioned players, Kershaw, Seager and Taylor were viewed the most likely to receive it.
The Dodgers wound up extending the one-year pact to just Seager and Taylor. Seager expectedly declined the qualifying offer, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
Final tally for the one-year, $18.4M qualifying offer, per sources:
Accepted: Brandon Belt.
Rejected: Nick Castellanos, Michael Conforto, Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman, Raisel Iglesias, Robbie Ray, Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Trevor Story, Chris Taylor, Justin Verlander.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 17, 2021
Seager headlines a historic free agent shortstop class that includes Carlos Correa, Javier Baez and Trevor Story, among others. The 2020 World Series MVP batted .306/.394/.521 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs and 57 RBI in 95 games this year.
While Seager has expressed a desire to re-sign with the Dodgers, a plethora of teams are expected to pursue him this offseason. Some believe the 27-year-old could sign a record-breaking contract that exceeds $300 million.
How MLB qualifying offer works
In order to be eligible to receive a qualifying offer, players must have spent the entire season on a team’s roster and previously could not have been extended one.
If a player rejects the qualifying offer and goes on to sign a contract that’s worth more than $50 million with a different team, the losing club will receive a compensation pick after the first round of the 2022 MLB Draft.
However, because the Dodgers were one of two teams to exceed the $210 luxury tax threshold this season, they would only be entitled to a compensation pick after the fourth round of next year’s draft.
Furthermore, if L.A. was to sign a player who rejected the qualifying offer this offseason, they would forfeit their second and fifth highest draft picks to the losing team, along with $1 million in international bonus money.
Of course, the system could change once a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is in place.
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and more!