What Xander Bogaerts, Nathan Eovaldi Qualifying Offers Mean For Red Sox

Boston reportedly extended qualifying offers to the two free agents


Nov 10, 2022

The Boston Red Sox reportedly extended qualifying offers to shortstop Xander Bogaerts and pitcher Nathan Eovaldi.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Thursday revealed the full qualifying offer list, which includes 12 other players in addition to the Red Sox free agents. The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier confirmed shortly after, citing sources, that the Red Sox extended qualifying offers to Bogaerts and Eovaldi.

The full list, per Passan: Bogaerts, Eovaldi, Aaron Judge, Trea Turner, Dansby Swanson, Jacob deGrom, Carlos Rodón, Brandon Nimmo, Joc Pederson, Willson Contreras, Chris Bassitt, Anthony Rizzo, Tyler Anderson and Martín Perez.

The one-year qualifying offer, which teams can extend to their impending free agents, is calculated by averaging the salaries of the 125 highest-paid players in Major League Baseball. As such, the offer is set at $19.65 million this offseason.

If a player accepts, he returns to his current team for 2023 at that salary. If a player declines, the team receives compensation if he signs elsewhere in free agency. Conversely, signing a player who received a qualifying offer from his previous team requires the signing club to relinquish compensation.

So, what does this all mean for the Red Sox?

Well, the news hardly qualifies as a surprise, especially in the case of Bogaerts, who opted out of the final three years and $60 million remaining on his contract to test free agency. He’ll obviously decline the qualifying offer, which doesn’t prohibit the Red Sox from re-signing the All-Star shortstop but ensures they’ll receive compensation if he signs elsewhere. Since Boston exceeded the luxury tax threshold in 2022, it would receive a compensatory pick after the fourth round of the 2023 MLB Draft.

The decision to extend a qualifying offer to Eovaldi isn’t shocking, either, but it wasn’t quite a forgone conclusion like in the case of Bogaerts. And Eovaldi, who earned $17 million in each of the last four seasons, might even accept the offer, with an eye toward solidifying his value and reentering free agency next offseason. If Eovaldi rejects the offer, his market this offseason theoretically could be impacted by the compensation a signing team would need to surrender in addition to its financial commitment to the pitcher himself.

Eovaldi dealt with injuries in 2022, and with a bounce-back performance in 2023, teams might be more inclined to offer him a lucrative multiyear contract, knowing they no longer would need to give up draft-pick compensation, as well. Players who previously received a qualifying offer in their careers are ineligible to receive a qualifying offer. Same for players who didn’t spend the entire preceding season with one team.

The Red Sox have questions in their rotation and presumably would welcome Eovaldi back with open arms on a one-year, $19.65 million contract. But they also could work out a multiyear deal with the right-hander, who turns 33 in February, perhaps with a lower average annual value than the qualifying offer but more long-term security.

J.D. Martinez, Michael Wacha and Rich Hill also became free agents after spending 2022 with the Red Sox. Wacha was a candidate to receive a qualifying offer, based on his strong season, but Boston evidently decided against it. That should help Wacha in free agency — he won’t be attached to draft-pick compensation — and perhaps pave the way for him to land a multiyear deal, with a Red Sox reunion still looming as a possibility.

Thumbnail photo via Wendell Cruz/USA TODAY Sports Images
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