MLB Free Agency Rumors: Qualifying Offer Value Increases For 2021 Season

An unprecedented 2020 MLB season has come to a close with the Los Angeles Dodgers defeating the Tampa Bay Rays in six games to capture their first World Series championship since 1988.

Now that a champion has been crowned, teams are beginning to shift their focus to off-the-field matters and the 2021 season. In what’s expected to be a financially challenging offseason due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many free agents may struggle to find the contract they are seeking.

Moreover, a record number of non-tenders are expected across the league. The first sign of this came last week when the Cleveland Indians placed All-Star reliever Brad Hand on outright waivers, opting against picking up his $10 million club option for the 2021 season.

On the contrary, one area of free agency that remains in good shape is the qualifying offer. According to Evan Drellich of The Athletic, the qualifying offer value has increased to $18.9 million for the 2021 season:

The qualifying offer value is determined by taking the average of the game’s 125 highest-paid players. Last year, it sat at $17.8 million, which was a slight decrease from the previous season.

The qualifying offer was first introduced for the 2013 season, when it was valued at $13.3 million. That rose to $17.2 million by 2017, with the $1.4 million increase from the year prior representing the largest in its history.

Teams have the option to extend a qualifying offer to their eligible free agents by 2 p.m. PT on Sunday. Players then will have until Nov. 11 to accept or reject the one-year deal.

Only players who spent the entire season with one organization can be extended the qualifying offer. If a player rejects the one-year pact and signs elsewhere, their original team receives draft compensation.

Dodgers reach MLB free agency

MLB free agency began Wednesday morning, and for the Dodgers, that meant seven players reaching the open market. Those no longer under contract are Pedro Baez, Kiké Hernandez, Jake McGee, Joc Pederson, Justin Turner, Blake Treinen and Alex Wood.

The group added an eighth member when the Dodgers declined their club option on Jimmy Nelson for the 2021 season. Of the aforementioned free agents, none appear to be likely to receive a qualifying offer. Justin Turner is ineligible due to being extended the one-year offer in 2016.

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