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The 2023 World Series is complete and the 2023-24 offseason is already underway. Over 100 players became free agents the day after the World Series ended and soon teams will have to make decisions about contract options and qualifying offers. Here are the important offseason dates and deadlines you need to know.

The qualifying offer entitles teams to draft pick compensation in the event they lose a free agent to another team. The QO is a one-year deal set at the average of the top 125 salaries in baseball, and this offseason it is worth $20.325 million. That is a record and up from $19.65 million last offseason.

Teams have until five days after the end of the World Series to tender their free agents the QO, and players who receive it then have until 4 p.m. ET on Nov. 14 to accept or reject. Players who accept the QO remain with their team, and players who reject it are attached to draft pick compensation. Simple, right? The process is, but the decisions aren't always.

With that in mind, let's run down this offseason's QO candidates. Here are the draft pick compensation rules to get us started.

Compensation rules

Once upon a time, teams that lost an eligible free agent received a compensation draft pick after the first round. It was nice and easy. The current rules are a bit more complicated. Here are compensation rules for teams that lose a qualified free agent:

Former teamContract sizeCompensation

Received revenue sharing

Less than $50 million

Pick after competitive balance round B (before third round)

Received revenue sharing

$50 million or more

Pick after first round

Paid competitive balance tax

N/A

Pick after fourth round

All other teams

N/A

Pick after competitive balance round B (before third round)

The Athletics, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Guardians, Mariners, Marlins, Orioles, Pirates, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Tigers, and Twins received revenue sharing this season, so the first two scenarios apply to them. The Blue Jays, Braves, Dodgers, Mets, Padres, Phillies, Rangers, and Yankees will pay competitive balance tax (CBT), so they're the third scenario. The Astros, Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, Nationals, Red Sox, and White Sox neither received revenue sharing nor paid CBT. They're in the fourth bucket.

And then there's the Angels. The Angels committed to going over the $233 million CBT threshold when they added Lucas Giolito and others at the trade deadline, then, after things went sideways in August, ownership reversed course and ordered the front office to get under the threshold. Giolito, Reynaldo López, Matt Moore, and others found themselves on waivers in August as the club tried to dump salary. The Angels also transferred Max Stassi from the injured list to the restricted list to avoid paying him.

It's unclear whether the Angels managed to get under the CBT threshold. The league does not calculate CBT payrolls until December, and while sites like Cot's Baseball Contracts and FanGraphs do tremendous work estimating team payrolls, they are only estimates. The Angels are right around the $233 million line. Come December, we'll learn whether they got under the threshold and are in the fourth group (did not receive revenue sharing or pay CBT), or failed and are in the third group (paid CBT).

Now here are the penalties for signing a qualified free agent:

Signing team2024 draft picks forfeited2025 international bonus money forfeited

Paid CBT

Second and fifth highest

$1 million

Received revenue sharing

Third highest

none

All other teams

Second highest

$500,000

The Blue Jays, Braves, Dodgers, Mets, Padres, Phillies, Rangers, Yankees, and possibly the Angels will pay CBT and are the first group. The A's, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Guardians, Mariners, Marlins, Orioles, Pirates, Rays, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Tigers, and Twins received revenue sharing and are the second group. The Astros, Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, Nationals, Red Sox, White Sox, and possibly the Angels are the third group. Got it? Good.

Last offseason, 14 players received the QO: Joc Pederson and Martín Pérez accepted it; Aaron Judge, Brandon Nimmo, and Anthony Rizzo signed new contracts to remain with their teams; Tyler Anderson, Chris Bassitt, Xander Bogaerts, Willson Contreras, Jacob deGrom, Nathan Eovaldi, Carlos Rodón, Dansby Swanson, and Trea Turner rejected the QO and signed with new teams, giving their former clubs compensation draft picks. Teams do not gain or lose picks for re-signing their own qualified free agent.

Not eligible for QO

Jordan Montgomery
TEX • SP • #52
ERA3.20
WHIP1.19
IP188.2
BB48
K166
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Players are eligible for the QO as long as they spent the entire 2023 season with one team and did not receive the QO previously. That means a not insignificant number of high profile free agents are not eligible for the QO this offseason. Here are the notables:

The Nationals traded Candelario to the Cubs for two minor leaguers who now rank as their No. 15 and 16 prospects per MLB.com. That's a much better haul than the one compensation draft pick Washington would have received had they kept Candelario all year and made him the QO. Anyway, these free agents are among those not eligible for the QO for one reason or another this offseason.

Also, the Diamondbacks cannot make Lourdes Gurriel Jr. the QO, reports the Arizona Republic. Gurriel signed a seven-year, $22 million contract with the Blue Jays after leaving Cuba and the contract stipulates he can not receive the QO. Players coming to MLB from foreign leagues will sometimes have unique clauses in their contract, and Gurriel apparently has a no QO clause.

Locks to get QO

Shohei Ohtani
LAD • DH • #17
BA0.304
R102
HR44
RBI95
SB20
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I count seven players who are stone cold locks to receive the QO this offseason: Cody Bellinger (Cubs), Matt Chapman (Blue Jays), Sonny Gray (Twins), Josh Hader (Padres), Aaron Nola (Phillies), Shohei Ohtani (Angels), and Blake Snell (Padres). This group of players is pretty straightforward, right? They're the best available free agents and in line to get much more than $20.325 million, if not in 2024 alone than certainly across multiple years. Making the QO is a no-brainer for the team. Rejecting the QO is a no-brainer for the player. Even Ohtani after elbow surgery. He's not taking the QO or any one-year contract. Ohtani will get capital-P Paid.

Also, the Angels' efforts to get under the CBT threshold are relevant to Ohtani. Or, more accurately, they are relevant to the Angels in the event Ohtani leaves as a free agent, which I think we can all agree seems likely. If the Angels did successfully get under the $233 million CBT threshold, they will receive a compensation draft pick after competitive balance round B, which will be in the No. 70 overall range. If they did not get under the threshold, the compensation pick for Ohtani will not come until after the fourth round, in the No. 135 overall range. There's about a 65-pick difference in Ohtani compensation on the line.

On the fence to get QO

Perhaps the most interest QO decision this offseason is Rhys Hoskins. The Phillies first baseman did not play at all this year after tearing his ACL late in spring training, and although his rehab progressed to the point that he took at-bats in simulated games in October, Hoskins never was added to Philadelphia's postseason roster. He missed the entire 2023 season.

Accepting the QO might be the best move for Hoskins. He'd get to remain with the only organization he's ever known, play for a contender, collect a nice paycheck, and rebuild value before testing free agency (without draft pick compensation attached) next offseason. The market is not kind to righty hitting, righty throwing first base/DH types. The QO could be the best offer he gets.

Would the Phillies welcome Hoskins back on a one-year, $20.325 million contract? Yeah, maybe, though it would complicate a lineup that already has too many DHs. As beloved as Hoskins is -- he is the club's longest-tenured position player -- the Phillies might just make a clean break and not risk committing that much money to another player whose best position is DH.

Other bubble candidates to get the QO offer including Mike Clevinger (White Sox), Teoscar Hernández (Mariners), Seth Lugo (Padres), and Jorge Soler (Marlins). Lugo ($7.5 million) and Soler ($9 million) can opt out of the final year on their contracts, and while they are unlikely to beat a $20.325 million salary in 2024, they could get more money across multiple years.

Unlikely to receive QO

Clayton Kershaw
LAD • SP • #22
ERA2.46
WHIP1.06
IP131.2
BB40
K137
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Some players won't get the QO because the math doesn't add up. Would the White Sox decline Tim Anderson's $14 million club option and then make him the $20.325 million QO? Of course not. They'd just pick up the option. In the unlikely event Javier Báez opts out of the final four years and $98 million remaining on his contract, the Tigers would make him the QO. Báez wouldn't walk away from four years and $98 million only to accept one year and $20.325 million.

Others notable free agents unlikely to receive the QO include Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers), Kevin Kiermaier (Blue Jays), Kenta Maeda (Twins), J.D. Martinez (Dodgers), Luis Severino (Yankees), and Julio Urías (Dodgers). Severino had a disastrous 2023 season while Kiermaier, Maeda, and Martinez remain very productive, but not productive enough to gamble $20.325 million for one season. All would be candidates to accept the QO and rejoin their team on a big salary.

NLDS start aside, Kershaw's performance is worth a QO, though the Dodgers have declined to make him the QO in the past out of respect for his legacy. They instead have allowed Kershaw to make a decision about his future on his own time and with no strings attached, and there's no reason to think this offseason will be different. As for Urías, he is expected to be suspended under the league's domestic violence policy, and the Dodgers have said in no uncertain terms they are done with him, making a QO very unlikely.

"I think so. That's where we're at," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told the Associated Press last month when asked whether the club has moved on from Urías. "There's not much for me to comment on. It's just like I said on the first day. It's just it's a very, very unfortunate, sad situation."