Qualifying offers to free agents, the ones teams need to make now in order to obtain a compensation pick for top free agents that leave, will need to be at least $13.3-$13.4 million instead of the $12-$12.5 million range that was expected, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.
It might not sound like a big increase, but to me it is. Teams will have to be real careful when it comes to making players offers like these because $13.4 million is an awful lot to pay a player whom you don’t even want to keep.
This will be especially hard when it comes to the small market teams. The Yankees won’t have much of an issue paying Nick Swisher $13.4 million on a one year deal, but could you imagine the Rays spending that on pretty much anybody?
In fact, looking at the list of potential free agents this offseason and it doesn’t appear that there will be many free agents that net teams compensation picks at all. Mike Napoli could be one. Melky Cabrera potentially another. Possibly B.J. Upton too. Zack Greinke. Certainly no relievers.
Luckily, the Yankees probably have one in Swisher this offseason. Don’t expect many more after that.