Following Will Smith’s decision to sign early with the Braves, there were nine more qualifying offer decisions to make tonight.
Jose Abreu (White Sox) and Jake Odorizzi (Twins) decided to accept, while seven others rejected:
The seven players who will reject qualifying offers, sources tell ESPN, and have draft-pick and perhaps international-bonus compensation tied to their free agency: Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner, Josh Donaldson and Marcell Ozuna.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 14, 2019
No huge surprises there, though I’ll start the early speculation that Ozuna is going to be the most hurt by the attachment of draft pick compensation.
As far as the market goes, free agent talks – and their outward ripple effects – can theoretically get underway more aggressively now. Scott Boras suggested that the talks have been hotter earlier this year (and note that Smith signing), but I’ll believe it when I see it.
For the Cubs, being over the luxury tax cap, their penalty for signing a qualified free agent is the most harsh: they would lose their second round pick, their fifth round pick (the bonus pool money associated with them), and also $1 million in IFA funds. It’s a lot. It’s not so much that it would stop you from signing a superstar you’d otherwise want, but that group of free agents? I’m not sure there’s a guy in there that the Cubs are going to want to pay at this time AND give up compensation for.