MLB’s deadline for qualifying offers is at 5 p.m. Friday. The offer is valued at a robust $17.9 million for one year.
Teams can make the offer to their eligible free agents, resulting in either retaining the individual for another season or receiving draft-pick compensation when he departs. It’s an easy decision for the Nationals to attach the offer to Bryce Harper, for instance, because he’s a lock to decline it.
Each of the nine qualifying offers made last season were rejected. The previous winter, two players took the lucrative one-year deal.
Nick Markakis is the only Braves player who could receive the offer, though that’s considered unlikely. The sum outweighs Markakis’ probable one-year value, while the draft pick likely would fall in the second round.
Teams receive a pick between the first round and the Competitive Balance Round A if the offeree signs for over $50 million, while less than such would award a selection before Competitive Balance Round B.
The Braves have ample spending room, but there’s little reason to believe they would tie up nearly $18 million for a player they might look to replace. The organization likes Markakis, and general manager Alex Anthopoulos is open to retaining him on a short-term agreement, but it wouldn’t come at such an annual cost.
Markakis assembled his first All-Star campaign in 2018, playing in all 162 games. But his second half was a dropoff: He hit .258/.332/.369 after marking .323/.389/.488 before the break. He was instrumental in the clubhouse’s lauded chemistry.
Perhaps the team re-signs Markakis, who turns 35 this month, but it doesn’t seem to be option A. Therefore the cons of making a qualifying offer are greater than the pros.
Starter Anibal Sanchez, catcher Rene Rivera, infielders Ryan Flaherty and Lucas Duda, relievers Brad Brach and Peter Moylan also are free agents. The Braves will have a busy offseason, but could circle back to a couple of those names if the situation is right.
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