O's decline to extend any qualifying offers
Monday's 5 p.m. ET deadline to submit $14.1 million proposal passes
BALTIMORE -- As expected, the Orioles did not extend any qualifying offers to their three eligible free agents prior to Monday's 5 p.m. ET deadline, with the price tag of $14.1 million too high for their liking. Still, the club may have some interest in retaining Brian Roberts, Nate McLouth and Jason Hammel.
Those three players join Scott Feldman, Michael Morse, Francisco Rodriguez and Chris Snyder as free agents that were part of the O's organization to end 2013.
The Orioles also declined a $5 million option on left-handed pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada on Saturday night and recently outrighted outfielder Chris Dickerson and Dan Johnson, both of whom elected free agency. The club also declined Alexi Casilla's $3 million option, instead opting to pay the $200,000 buyout that makes the infielder a free agent.
After the conclusion of the World Series, teams had five days to make one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offers to their own free agents, a figure -- up $800,000 from a year ago -- that was determined by Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association and set by the average of the 125 most lucrative contracts, as detailed by the Basic Agreement.
A player has one week to accept the qualifying offer -- that deadline is 5 p.m. ET on Nov. 11 -- thus locking himself in with his current team at one year and $14.1 million, or he can decline and hit the open market.
Clubs with a player who turns down a qualifying offer and elects to sign with another team now are entitled to Draft-pick compensation, but they do not get the signing team's top Draft pick. The signing team forfeits its top pick, and the first round simply gets shorter. The former team does not receive that forfeited pick but instead receives a selection in the compensatory round between the first and second rounds. The exception to this rule is if the signing team picks in the top 10, in which case it keeps that pick and forfeits its next pick.
The O's have interest in bringing back some of their free agents next season -- particularly Feldman, Roberts and McLouth -- but obviously at a lower cost than $14.1 million annually, and they will have to outbid the rest of the market with Monday's exclusivity window expiring at midnight ET. The question the Orioles now must debate in organizational meetings is how much attention some of their free agents will draw, and how much they're willing to pay to keep any of them.
Baltimore's biggest area that needs to be addressed is pitching and the club added left-hander Chris Jones to the 40-man roster on Monday night, selecting his contract from Triple-A Norfolk to give them another potential bullpen option. Jones, acquired from Atlanta in the Luis Ayala trade on April 10, held left-handed hitters to a .196/.291/.268 line in 36 games (two starts) combined at Double-A and Triple-A.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.