Originally posted on HardballTalk:
If a team gives a departing free agent a “qualifying offer,” the team that ultimately signs the free agent loses a first or second round pick. The draft pick component of it all can depress the value of a free agent on the market who rejects said offer. Just ask Kyle Lohse how that worked out for him last year. Of course the free agent can simply take the qualifying offer. It’s a gamble all around, then. The team extending it is betting that the player is worth the amount of the qualifying offer, the player bets that he can do better and the team signing him bets a first or second round draft pick on the guy.
The qualifying offer is arrived at by taking an average of the top 125 salaries in baseball. Last year it was $13.3 million. Joel Sherman reports today that it has gone up, as expected. Up a little higher than some guessed, however: it’s now $14.1 million.
So, this winter, when you hear about so-and-so accepting or rejecting the qualifying offer, the amount in play is that $14.1 million.