St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Jason Heyword was among the record-setting 20 players to receive a qualifying offer by Friday's deadline. NL Gold Glove finalist hit .293 with 13 homers and 60 RBIs.

MLB Free Agency Rumors: Jason Heyward, Zack Greinke, And Chris Davis Among 20 players To Receive Qualifying Offers

Major League Baseball’s deadline for clubs to offer their free agents a qualifying offer of one-year for $15.8 million has officially passed. Teams had until 5 p.m. ET on Friday to offer a select group of players the qualifying offer and a record 20 players received such an offer according to ML Trade Rumors.

The qualifying offer system has been in place since the end of the 2012-13 season, but teams hadn’t really used it that much until this year. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the previous record for players receiving a qualifying offer was 13 in 2013-14.

Teams likely haven’t used the qualifying offer system that much is because it is rather expensive and a little complex. But with such a star-studded free agent class, it isn’t surprising that teams used the option.

Basically, the value of the qualifying offer is determined annually by averaging the top-125 player salaries from the previous year. The players that receive the qualifying offer has seven days to accept or decline the offer. If the player declines the offer and signs elsewhere, his new team will have to surrender a top draft pick. However, the first 10 selections in the draft are protected – meaning the Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves, Colorado Rockies, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago White Sox would surrender their second-highest selections if they reach terms with a QO-declining free agent as their top-picks are protected this year.

According to Steve Kinsella of Sports Talk Florida, no player has ever accepted a qualifying offer. No player will likely accept the offer this year either, though New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy may be the most likely to do so as he has an interest in remaining with the team, per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.

Jason Heyward, Zack Greinke, and Chris Davis –all ranked in the top-5 of MLBTR’s top-50 available free agents – heads the list of players to receive the qualifying offer. Hayword is slotted as the No. 2 best free agent, while Greinke is No. 3 in the rankings and Davis is No. 9.


Of the 20 players that received a qualifying offer, 10 of them were starting pitchers. Starting pitchers and outfielders are expected to be the two more coveted positions on the open market this year.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles each offered three players qualifying offers, while the Washington Nationals, Padres, and St. Louis Cardinals made the offer to two players apiece.

The Following is the complete list of players to receive a qualifying offer.

Brett Anderson (Dodgers). The 27-year old left-hander made $12.4 million with bonuses last season and is believed to looking for multi-year offers. Anderson went 10-9 with a 3.69 ERA in 31 starts this past season.

Howie Kendrick (Dodgers). The 32-year old second baseman had a productive year in his first season with the Dodgers, slashing.295/.336/.409 with nine home runs in 117 games

Zack Greinke (Dodgers). The 32-year old opted out of his contract after having his best season ever. Greinke went 19-3 with a 1.66 ERA and 200 strikeouts in 222.2 innings.

Zack Greink is a NL CY Young favorite and one of the top available free agents (photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Zack Greink is a NL CY Young favorite and one of the top available free agents
(photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Dexter Fowler (Chicago Cubs). The 29-year old center fielder hit.250, but set a career-high with 17 homers while also stealing 20 bases.

Hisashi Iwakuma (Seattle Mariners). The soon-to-be 34-year old was slowed down a bit by injuries, but he still posted another strong campaign, as he tossed his first career no-hitter.

Ian Kennedy (Padres). The 30-year old left suffered a career-high 15 losses (9-15) and registered a 4.28 ERA.

Daniel Murphy (Mets). The 30-year old had a historic NLCS post-season.

Yovani Gallardo (Texas Rangers). He went 13-11 with a career-high 3.42 ERA.

Chris Davis (Orioles). The 29-year-old led the majors with 47 home runs in 2015 and drove in 117 runs in 160 games.

Chris Davis is one of the top free agents available in 2016 (photo by Mitchell Layton/ Getty Images).
Chris Davis is one of the top free agents available in 2016 (photo by Mitchell Layton/ Getty Images).

Matt Weiters (Orioles). The 29-year-old hit.267 with eight homers in an injury-shortened season.

Jason Heyword (Cardinals). The NL Gold Glove finalist hit.293 with 13 homers and 60 RBIs.

Alex Gordon (Kansas City Royals). The 31-year old hit.271 with 13 homers and 48 RBIs in 104 games.

Other players to receive qualifying offers include Ian Desmond (Washington Nationals), Marco Estrada (Toronto Blue Jays), John Lackey (St. Louis Cardinals), Colby Rasmus (Houston Astros), Jeff Samardzija (Chicago White Sox), Justin Upton (Padres) and Jordan Zimmermann (Nationals).

[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images]

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