Although seven teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, are still looking to win the final game of the 2021 season, 23 of the 30 clubs have already begun to think about next year.
MLB free agency technically begins the morning after the World Series concludes. Teams are granted a window to negotiate with players from their roster who are no longer under contract before the market fully opens.
Of course, how much activity comes about in free agency is a bit of a guessing game this fall as the current collective bargaining agreement is due to expire on Dec. 1.
Nevertheless, MLB has given some clarity to teams who are looking ahead by telling them how much it will cost to offer a qualifying offer to their free agents, if they chose to do so. The league reportedly informed teams that the qualifying offer for the 2022 season will be $18.4 million, which is down $500,000 from last year, according to Buster Olney of ESPN:
Sources: MLB clubs have been informed that the qualifying offer for free agents this winter is set at $18.4 million. That's down slightly from $18.9 million QO of last winter. Free agents extended a QO will accept or reject before the expiration of the current CBA Dec. 1.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) October 12, 2021
The drop might seem surprising as fans returned to ballparks in full capacity after a 2020 season with none in attendance due to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), but the qualifying offer is determined by taking the average of the game’s 125 highest-paid players. So because of a 2020 season with decreased revenue, teams were less willing to spend in the offseason.
Will Dodgers extend qualifying offer?
Last offseason the Dodgers did not extend the qualifying offer to any of their free agents, but this year they have three candidates who are likely to receive one in Corey Seager, Clayton Kershaw and Chris Taylor.
Max Scherzer is not eligible to receive a qualifying offer as he was traded midseason, but he has expressed interest in re-signing with the Dodgers.
Kenley Jansen is also not eligible to receive a qualifying offer as he was extended the offer in 2016 and players can only be extended the qualifying offer once in their career.
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