The Houston Astros now know which free agents potentially have a draft pick attached to them.
Last season there was a record 20 MLB players who received a qualifying offer (QO). For the first time since 2012, three players accepted the qualifying offer with their teams. This included a Houston Astros player accepting an offer. This offseason, there were not as many players receiving the QO. Ten players now have the option to accept the QO or take their chances at a longer deal in the free agent market via Joel Sherman.
As expected, the Astros did not offer the qualifying offer to any of their potential free agents. The five-day window for the negotiate with their players is over. The four players are now officially free agents. These players are Jason Castro, Luis Valbuena, Colby Rasmus, and Doug Fister. Ironically, the three hitters represented the Astros lineup from the left side of the plate. They are now free to test their value with other teams.
Let’s move away from the players the Astros did not extend a QO to and focus on the players around baseball who did. Keep in mind. The Astros value draft picks, so they will most likely not sign two players with draft picks attached. Most of these players are also set to receive a pretty hefty contract as well.
Who received a qualifying offer?
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These are the names reported by Joel Sherman and MLB Trade Rumors. Some of these names are not likely to leave such as Cespedes, Walker, Fowler, and Jansen. The names that Astros fans are interested in are Desmond, Encarnacion, Cespedes, and Fowler on this list. I would have said Hellickson could have been a target, but receiving the offer might make him less attractive to the Astros.
Listen to Astros talk all offseason below on Talking Stros.
The good news is that neither Matt Wieters or Wilson Ramos were offered a qualifying offer. With Castro potentially leaving, these two might be targets for Jeff Luhnow. There is much to look forward to this offseason, but at least we know who has the qualifying offer attached to them.
The deadline for the players receiving qualifying offers to accept or reject them is November 14th. Hellickson has already indicated that he will decline the offer, others soon to follow. Even if the player rejects the offer, they can still negotiate with the team for a longer term deal. Buckle your seat belts. Tomorrow is the beginning of free agency.
***Qualifying offers from MLB Trade Rumors and Joel Sherman***