NEW YORK, NY – Madison Bumgarner was among 10 free agents who received $17.8 million qualifying offers from their former teams on Monday, a move that likely will decrease demand for the 30-year-old left-hander.
Bumgarner, the 2014 World Series MVP, went 9-9 with a 3.90 ERA over 34 starts this year after two injury-shortened seasons. San Francisco also made a qualifying offer to left-handed reliever Will Smith.
Six pitchers received the qualifying offers among the 168 free agents, including right-handers Gerrit Cole (Houston), Stephen Strasburg (Washington), Zack Wheeler (New York Mets) and Jake Odorizzi (Minnesota). The others given the offers were third basemen Anthony Rendon (Washington) and Josh Donaldson (Atlanta), first baseman José Abreu (Chicago White Sox) and outfielder Marcell Ozuna (St. Louis).
On the day before free agents can start negotiating contracts with all teams, Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez decided to stay in Boston instead of becoming a free agent, declining an option that would have voided the last three years and $62.5 million owed as part of the $110 million, five-year contract he signed after teams had reported to spring training in 2018.
Elvis Andrus is staying with the Rangers after the shortstop passed on a second chance to opt out of his contract, give up $43 million over the next three years and become a free agent.
Milwaukee cut $15 million in payroll for next season, trading right-hander Chase Anderson to Toronto for outfield/first base prospect Chad Spanberger and declining a $7.5 million option on power-hitting first baseman Eric Thames. Anderson was 8-4 with a 4.21 ERA in 27 starts and five relief appearances. Milwaukee had planned to decline his $8.5 million option, which would have made him eligible for salary arbitration, and Toronto exercised the option following the trade.
Pittsburgh exercised options on right-hander Chris Archer ($9 million) and outfielder Starling Marté ($11.5 million), preventing them from becoming free agents.
Among those whose options were declined were Los Angeles Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun, Atlanta right-hander Julio Teheran, Minnesota left-hander Martín Pérez, Philadelphia right-handers Jared Hughes and Pat Neshek, and Phillies left-hander Jason Vargas.
A new team signing a player who turned down the qualifying offer would lose at least one pick in next year's amateur draft as compensation unless a deal is struck after the draft starts in June. Compensation caused pitchers Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel to wait until after the draft to sign 2019 deals.
Players have until 5 p.m. EST on Nov. 14 to accept.
Qualifying offers began after the 2012 season, and only three of 80 offers have been accepted: New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker and Philadelphia pitcher Jeremy Hellickson after the 2016 season and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu last offseason.
A free agent can be made a qualifying offer only if he has been with the same team continuously since opening day and has never received a qualifying offer before.
The New York Yankees failed to make a $17.8 million qualifying offer to Didi Gregorius and will not receive draft-pick compensation if the free-agent shortstop signs with another team. Gregorius, who turns 30 in February, came back from Tommy John surgery in early June and hit .238 with 16 homers and 61 RBIs in 82 games. If New York doesn't re-sign Gregorius, it could move Gleyber Torres from second to shortstop, make DJ LeMahieu the regular second baseman and allocate more payroll to starting pitching.
The price of the qualifying offer is determined by the average of the top 125 major league contracts this year and it dropped by $100,000.
Atlanta declined $6 million options on outfielder Nick Markakis and catcher Tyler Flowers, triggering $2 million buyouts, then agreed to $4 million, one-year contracts with both.