Over the last three years the free agency process has involved clubs extending qualifying offers to eligible players. The value of the qualifying offer changes from year to year and is determined by averaging the top 125 player salaries from the previous season.
Entering the 2015 offseason none of the previous 34 players extended a qualifying offer had accepted. This year, a record 20 players were extended the qualifying offer, valued at $15.8 million.
Despite players not agreeing to the one-year contract, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred recently it’s a process he believes in.
With Friday’s 2 p.m. PT deadline for players to accept or reject a qualifying offer looming, Houston Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus is expected to become the first player to accept it, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
The free agent is outfielder Colby Rasmus, who will return to the Astros on a one-year, $15.8 million contract rather than remain on the open market for teams that would lose a draft pick for signing him.
With a robust free agent market of outfielders that includes Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Gordon, among others, Rasmus accepting the qualifying offer may be indication he had trouble securing a multiyear contract with compensation attached to him.
Rasmus earned $8 million in his first year with the Astros. He hit .238/.314/.475 with 25 home runs (setting a new career high), 61 RBIs, a .339 wOBA and 115 wRC+ over 137 games.
The Astros reached the postseason for the first time since 2005, playing a total of six games — defeating the New York Yankees in the American League Wild Card game before getting eliminated in Game 5 of the AL Division Series to the eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals.
In just his second trip to the postseason, Rasmus hit a blistering .412/.583/1.176 with four home runs, including one home run in each of the first three playoff games.