The qualifying offer for major league free agents this offseason will be $15.8 million, per both Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, a 3.3-percent increase over the $15.3 million qualifying offer in 2014.
Teams must make a qualifying offer, a one-year deal at $15.8 million, to pending free agents by 2 p.m. PT of the fifth day following the final game of the World Series. The players have exactly seven days, until 2 p.m. PT one week later to accept or decline the offer.
The qualifying offer, now in it's fourth season, replaced the old tiered system to provide compensation for teams that lose free agents. Instead of Type A or Type B free agents, a qualifying offer is simply a one-year contract offer, 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, the Dodgers cannot make a qualifying offer to free agent relief pitcher Jim Johnson, since he was acquired midseason (a more relevant example is David Price, who was traded from the Tigers to the Blue Jays on July 31; Toronto cannot make Price a qualifying offer).
The qualifying offer was first introduced in 2012. In the first three years under this system, all 34 players — nine in 2012, 13 in 2013 and 12 in 2014 — have rejected the offer, becoming free agents.
The Dodgers have made one qualifying offer, doing so after the 2014 season to Hanley Ramirez, and as expected he declined the one-year, $15.3 million offer and eventually signed a four-year, $88 million contract with the Red Sox. The Dodgers received a compensatory pick in between the first and second round, which ended up the No. 35 pick.
That pick was used on University of Louisville pitcher Kyle Funkhouser, who did not sign.
For the Dodgers, this is most relevant for second baseman Howie Kendrick and starting pitcher Brett Anderson. In addition, should Zack Greinke decide to opt out of the three years and $71 million remaining he has on his contract — he has until three days after the World Series to do so — the Dodgers would almost certainly make him a qualifying offer as well.