Dodgers Qualifying Offer Decisions

Oct 18, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) pitches during the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs in game three of the 2016 NLCS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 18, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Kenley Jansen (74) pitches during the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs in game three of the 2016 NLCS playoff baseball series at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports /

Which Dodger free agents are likely to receive a qualifying offer?

Nine members of the Dodgers’ 40-man roster are set to become free agents this offseason. When the World Series ends the Dodgers will have five days to try to work a deal with their free agents. If they can’t come to an agreement, other teams will get their shot as these players.

Justin Turner, Kenley Jansen, Brett Anderson, Joe Blanton, Jesse Chavez, J.P. Howell, Chase Utley, Rich Hill, Josh Reddick.

Two other Dodgers could become free agents. Carlos Ruiz has a $4.5 million team option for next season. I’m like 99 percent sure that will be picked up, as Ruiz definitely showed value as a backup catcher and a full offseason working with Dodger pitchers will only help.

Scott Kazmir could also hit free agency, as his three-year, $48 million deal came with an opt-out after one year. Given his poor season last year and his injury, I doubt he leaves $32 million on the table. Had he not been hurt or performed better, he’d arguably be one of the most sought-after free agent arms and would likely opt out.

That leaves the nine names listed above as free agents. The qualifying offer used to be an afterthought, but three players (including Anderson) accepted it last year. This year, the price is set at $17.2 million, up from $15.8 million last season (a number reached by averaging the top-125 annual salaries). If a player is offered a qualifying offer and signs elsewhere, their new team has to give up their first draft pick (top-10 excluded) and their old team gets a comp pick between the first and second rounds.


Of the impending free agents, Jesse Chavez, Josh Reddick and Rich Hill are not eligible for a qualifying offer.

In order to be eligible, you have to have been on the team for the full season. Those three were acquired at the trade deadline. Reddick and Hill would definitely have received qualifying offers, which is part of the reason the Dodgers had to give up such a hefty prospect package for them. They essentially cost the A’s two players and potentially two draft picks.

Chavez would definitely not have received a qualifying offer anyways, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Dodgers retain him.

Probably Not

Brett Anderson is probably on his way to an incentive-heavy deal. He’s still very talented, but only has two years of health in his eight-year career. His age and ability when he’s on the field will tempt teams (maybe even the Dodgers), but there’s no way he comes close to a qualifying offer again.

Blanton proved to be a highly effective setup man. Playoff struggles not withstanding, Blanton is due for a nice pay raise up from the $4 million he made last season. Hopefully, it’s with the Dodgers. But no team is going to give him $17 million on the open market. If there’s one area of free agency with some depth, it’s relief pitching.

Howell and Utley are sort of in the same boat. They’re both a few years removed from being quality players and are both on the older side. Utley will definitely get a contract for his veteran presence, but neither are going to break the bank.


Turner and Jansen are definitely going to get and reject qualifying offers. Both are going to get multiple year offers (probably four-years) for big money. In a perfect world, both will remain Dodgers. Gun to my head, I’d guess Turner stays (as he’s the only third baseman on the open market) and the Dodgers get outbid for Jansen, but hopefully I’m wrong on that one.

Potential Targets and QO’s

The Dodgers value draft picks, and losing Jansen would give them an extra one. The only free agent I could really see the Dodgers giving up a pick to grab would be Neil Walker. They have a hole at second, and Walker rakes while playing solid defense up the middle.

If Yoenis Cespedes chooses to opt out, he will surely receive a QO as well. I’d probably prefer for the Dodgers to go after him instead of trading for Ryan Braun. I’m not sure how realistic that is, but he destroys left handed pitching and could comfortably play left with Joc Pederson in center.

I stated that I could see the Dodgers losing Jansen. Part of that is the depth at closer, as two other premium closers are available in free agency. Mark Melancon isn’t quite at Jansen’s level, but he’s damn good. Aroldis Chapman is arguably slightly worse than Jansen, but is one of the most dominant arms in baseball. The big difference there is both were traded midseason, meaning neither would cost a pick.

Next: An Early Look at the Offseason

There’s definitely a part of me that could see the Dodgers letting Jansen walk, scooping up the draft pick and using that money on Chapman. Baseball-wise, it’s probably the smart move as the difference between the two is minor and more draft picks are nice. The Dodgers backed off trading for Chapman last offseason due to his domestic violence charges, so there’s a chance they still want to steer clear of him. Melancon would be the cheapest option, and while he doesn’t dominate like Jansen or Chapman, he’s still one of the better closers in baseball.

Obviously the baseball season is fun, but the offseason is where things really get interesting. This front office keeps things quiet, but there will surely be rumors floating around.