MLB free agency: How qualifying offer decisions impact Phillies and other teams

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How MLB qualifying offer decisions impact Phillies in free agency originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The deadline for teams to extend qualifying offers to their free agents was Sunday and 14 players received the one-year, $18.4 million offer.

That number is an average of the top 125 salaries in Major League Baseball and there are draft pick implications when signing a player who rejected his qualifying offer.

So far, four of the 14 players have reportedly rejected it: Nick Castellanos, Michael Conforto, Corey Seager and Marcus Semien.

The other 10 players are Brandon Belt, Carlos Correa, Freddie Freeman, Raisel Iglesias, Robbie Ray, Eduardo Rodriguez, Trevor Story, Noah Syndergaard, Chris Taylor and Justin Verlander.

They have until November 17 to decide, though some of these are no-brainers.

Correa and Story will reject theirs. 

Ray is an AL Cy Young finalist and Iglesias is the top closer on the market, so they'll almost certainly reject theirs.

Freeman will find another multi-year deal in Atlanta or elsewhere and if he stays in Atlanta, he'd likely work out something other than a qualifying offer with the Braves.

Syndergaard and Verlander are coming off of seasons lost to injury. It could make some sense for Syndergaard to accept the $18.4 million to return to the Mets to reestablish value for free agency a year from now. Though he might also be able to find a two- or three-year offer in free agency with an AAV around $15 million. Verlander should be able to beat that number as well.

Taylor will have many suitors because of his versatility, so he too is likely to reject, leaving Belt and Rodriguez.

To date, only 10.4% of players who have received the qualifying offer have accepted it.

If a player accepts, he returns to his team on that one-year salary. He cannot be traded until at least June 15, 2022. And he cannot again receive a qualifying offer.

If a team signs a player who rejected the qualifying offer, it loses a draft pick, and depending on its revenue-sharing status, a portion of its international signing bonus pool. 

If the Phillies, for example, sign Castellanos, they would lose their second-highest pick in the 2022 draft and would lose $500,000 from their international bonus pool. If they were to sign two players who rejected the offer -- say, Castellanos and Iglesias -- they'd forfeit their second- and third-highest picks.

From a Phillies perspective, the players to note are Castellanos, Iglesias, Taylor, Conforto and the shortstops. That's not to say they won't explore possibilities with a few others above, but those are the best fits based on need.

Building up a weak farm system is a priority for the Phillies, but the penalty likely wouldn't keep them from signing a Castellanos or Iglesias for the right price. It can serve as a tiebreaker of sorts for teams if they value multiple free agents similarly and only one of them is attached to a qualifying offer.

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