LOS ANGELES -- The price for qualifying offers for major league free agents will be $15.3 million this offseason, per the Associated Press, an 8.5-percent increase from $14.1 million in 2013.
The qualifying offer is a mechanism for teams to get a compensatory draft pick for losing free agents, and is determined each year as an average of the top 125 salaries in baseball. In order to be eligible to receive a qualifying offer, a free agent must have spent the entire season with his club, so no midseason trade acquisitions.
In other words, midseason acquisitions Roberto Hernandez and Kevin Correia cannot receive a qualifying offer from the Dodgers, not that they every would have in the first place.
The one player who this really applies to on the Dodgers is shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who will enter free agency after his age-30 season, hitting .283/.369/.448 with 13 home runs and 35 doubles in 128 games. Ramirez made $16 million in 2014 in the final season of a six-year contract originally signed with Florida.
This qualifying offer system has been in place since 2012 and in the two years under this system all 22 players who have received them - nine in 2012, 13 in 2013 - have rejected the offer, becoming free agents.
The Dodgers have not made a qualifying offer to any free agent in the last two seasons
Teams must make the qualifying offer, a straight one-year deal, by 2 p.m. PT of the fifth day following the final game of the World Series. The players have exactly one week, until 2 p.m. PT seven days later to accept or decline the offer.
Any new team signing a player who declined a qualifying offer forfeits its first-round pick, unless it had one of the 10 worst records in the previous year - in that case it would forfeit its next -highest pick. The old team receives a supplemental pick in between the first and second round.
With a 100-percent rejection ratio so far, it seems highly unlikely Ramirez would accept the qualifying offer, though with just 214 games played in the last two seasons it might not be the worst idea in the world to take another year to try to re-establish his free agent value.
The other question is whether or not the Dodgers would make the qualifying offer to Ramirez. It seems like a no-brainer, because even if Ramirez accepts, having him back on a one-year deal is the best possible scenario for the team. I'm just not convinced the team thinks it is as crystal clear.
I hope I'm wrong.