The SF Giants are gearing up for the offseason and they expect to be connected to several key free agents. In many instances, they will have to weigh whether they want to sign a player who will inevitably reject a qualifying offer.
Will the SF Giants sign a player who rejects a qualifying offer this winter?
One of the first decisions that is made is whether a team issues a qualifying offer to its top free agents. In 2024, the qualifying offer will be around $20.5 million.
The Giants have been more aggressive than most teams in issuing qualifying offers in recent seasons. The list includes Madison Bumgarner, Will Smith, Kevin Gausman, Brandon Belt, Carlos Rodón, and Joc Pederson.
Bumgarner, Smith, and Rodón all rejected the qualifying offer and signed elsewhere. The Giants received compensatory picks for each player, so there is a benefit to being aggressive.
On the other hand, it has been a long time since the Giants have signed a player who has rejected a qualifying offer. You would have to go back to 2015 when they signed Jeff Samardzija after missing out on Zack Greinke.
Samardzija was coming off of an awful season with the Chicago White Sox in which he posted a 4.96 ERA in 32 starts. Chicago felt that Samardzija was poised to land a lucrative deal in free agency, so they issued him a qualifying offer. He rejected it and signed with the Giants shortly thereafter.
The penalty for signing a player who rejected a qualifying offer varies depending on the team. For the Giants, they would risk losing their second-highest draft pick and $500,000 in international bonus money. That is a steep price to pay, but if you are landing a star, it is something that they can tolerate.
Players who will almost certainly receive a qualifying offer this winter include Shohei Ohtani, Matt Chapman, Cody Bellinger, and Sonny Gray. There are others, but I highlighted the players that are likely going to be connected to San Francisco this winter.
Perhaps, this might be what makes someone like Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Orix Buffaloes even more appealing beyond his phenomenal numbers. The star NPB pitcher is expected to come over stateside, but the qualifying offer will not apply to him this winter.
So, the Giants will have to weigh whether they can stomach losing draft and international capital next year. If it means signing someone like Ohtani, then it is very, very easy to overlook any other detail. Of course, this requires that they do something that they have not done in years - sign a star player in free agency.