With MLB free agency officially underway, the San Francisco Giants have tendered qualifying offers to their two big free agents, starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner and reliever Will Smith.
If you’re unfamiliar with the qualifying offer system, it’s fairly simple. The players have ten days to accept or reject the offer, which is a one-year deal based on the average price of the 125 richest contracts in MLB. This year, that figure is $17.8 million, which is down slightly from a year ago.
Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith both got the qualifying offer ($17.8 million) per @BNightengale, as expected. Bumgarner was an easy decision and Giants felt that's a worthwhile risk for a high-end closer. They have 10 days to accept or reject.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) November 4, 2019
Should Bumgarner and Smith reject the offer, they will become free agents, but any team that signs them will have to send a compensatory 2020 draft pick to the Giants.
It was always a given that the Giants would give the qualifying offer to Bumgarner, and almost certainly a given that he will reject it. The former World Series MVP figures to sign a mid-to-long term deal this offseason, and the annual value will likely exceed the $17.8 million of the one-year qualifying offer. But the Giants will at least get something back should Bumgarner sign with a different team, unless he remains a free agent through part of next season, and doesn’t sign until after the draft. Unfortunately for all parties, that’s a realistic possibility, as Dallas Keuchel reminded us this past year.
The qualifying offer for Smith was less certain, though it’s not particularly surprising. With teams not shelling out the money for relievers that they used to, Smith will likely get less than $17.8 million annually on the market, especially since a draft pick will be attached to his price. He and his agent will have to determine whether he’d prefer the long-term certainty of a free agent deal, or if he’d rather take the maximum payday for one year, and hit the market next summer. Players can’t be offered the qualifying offer a second time. There’s certainly a chance that he accepts the deal and returns to the Giants. Given his value as both a pitcher and a trade asset, the Giants would surely be okay with that.
Bumgarner and Smith were among the top names being discussed when the 2019 trade deadline came around. But while Farhan Zaidi traded Sam Dyson, Mark Melancon, Drew Pomeranz, and Ray Black, he opted to keep his top starter and reliever on the team.
What happens with their qualifying offers and free agency could go a long way towards how fans view the lack of trade deadline movement.
What’s your prediction?
This poll is closed
Bumgarner declines QO, Smith accepts QO
Both reject QO
Both accept QO
Bumgarner accepts QO, Smith declines QO