The Red Sox do have other business to conduct beyond hiring a manager, specifically trying to retain free agents David Ortiz and Cody Ross. They are negotiating with both players.
So it is worth noting that Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported on Friday that “qualifying offers” for free agents will be worth $13.3 million.
Under baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement, veteran free agents (those with six years of service time) will return draft pick compensation only if they are tendered a qualifying offer. That offer is one year and the average of the top 125 salaries in the game.
It cannot be higher or for more years.
Those offers must be made within five days of the conclusion of the World Series. Players then have seven days to accept or decline.
The Red Sox would surely make Ortiz a qualifying offer. It seems unlikely he would take it as it would represent a cut in salary. Offering Ross $13.3 million seems unlikely given that he made $3 million last season.
A few things to note:
— If a player accepts the qualifying offer, he is locked in at that number for one season. If he declines, he is free to sign with any team for any price.
— If that player signs with another team, his original team will receive one draft pick at the end of the first round.
— The top 10 picks in the draft are protected. If a team outside the top 10 signs a qualified free agent, it will lose its first-round pick. However that pick will not go to the player’s original team. It just disappears.
In other words, the best return for Ortiz would be one draft pick, roughly No. 31 overall give or take a few slots.