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The qualifying offer rises (again)

This doesn’t really affect the Twins, but it’s worth discussing anyway.

Houston Astros v Minnesota Twins - Game Two
A Twins free agent under consideration to receive the qualifying offer this offseason (hint: the likelihood is zero).
Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

I forgot to mention this when it was first released, but it’s important to note that the price of this offseason’s qualifying offer has been set at $17.2 million. Determined by averaging the top 125 annual salaries, the qualifying offer has been steadily increasing since its inception during the 2012-2013 offseason, when it was originally set at $13.3 million. A couple years ago I broke down the old compensation system and how the qualifying offer was meant to fix the old problems.

Although the Twins do have some free agents this season, none are of the caliber that would cause the team to consider giving a qualifying offer (Kurt Suzuki, Tommy Milone, and Logan Schafer). Additionally, the free agent market is incredibly weak this year as well. Jeremy Hellickson is primed to be one of the few starting pitchers that will receive an offer and will most likely decline it despite his mediocre track record because mediocrity is better than what most starting pitchers can offer this offseason.

No, the Twins won’t have to worry about anyone that’s potentially leaving the roster, but they also likely won’t have to worry about losing a draft pick to a potential free agent, either. Even if they choose to pursue best available starter Rich Hill, he was traded midseason and thus isn’t eligible to receive a qualifying offer.

It will be interesting to see which players choose to accept the qualifying offer this year as well. Last year, we saw the first players ever accept it in Brett Anderson, Matt Wieters, and Colby Rasmus. Looking at the CBS Sports article I linked above, I only see Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena as a possibility to take the one-year contract over a potential multi-year deal, and even them I’m not very confident in that prediction.

Finally, I know that some of you may be wondering about the $17.2 million tag and thinking how high that is, but I showed in my 2014 qualifying offer post that its value was actually increasing at a slower rate than the MLB average salary. Besides, the majority of the qualifying offer-receiving free agents will probably earn more money overall on their next contract, making the increasing value of the QO moot.