On Monday, the San Francisco Giants extended a qualifying offer to free agents Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith. What does that mean?
The first week of the MLB offseason generally includes a lot of housekeeping roster moves, including the decision on whether to extend a qualifying offer (QO) to any upcoming free agents. The San Francisco Giants handed out two qualifying offers on Monday.
So what the heck does that mean?
Let’s start with a list of all the players who received a QO this offseason for some context:
As Nightengale mentioned at the bottom of that tweet, those 10 players will now have 10 days to accept or reject a one-year, $17.8 million contract for the 2020 season.
That rather random-seeming salary figure represents the average salary of the 125 highest-paid players in baseball.
If either player accepts his QO, he forgoes free agency and returns to the Giants on a one-year deal. Each player can only receive one qualifying offer throughout the course of their career.
If either player declines his QO, he hits the open market and is free to sign with any team. If the player winds up signing elsewhere for more than $50 million in total, the Giants will receive a compensatory draft pick immediately following the first round of the 2020 draft. If the player signs elsewhere for less than $50 million in total, the Giants will receive a pick just prior to the third round of the 2020 draft.
It was an easy decision to offer a QO in the case of Bumgarner, as he’s almost certain to reject the offer in favor of pursuing a multi-year deal. On the other hand, Smith could wind up accepting the $17.8 million salary, and that was a risk the Giants were willing to take.
“The qualifying offer for Bumgarner, a face of the franchise and longtime head of the rotation, was a no-brainer. There was more internal discussion regarding Smith, but the Giants still felt comfortable making an offer that Smith might actually think about accepting,” wrote Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area.
Even if both players reject the QO, that doesn’t mean close the door on a potential return to San Francisco. It simply ensures the team will receive some sort of compensation if they do inevitably sign elsewhere.
The offseason is underway, folks, and this was the first big bit of news for the San Francisco Giants. Stay tuned to see how both players respond.