HOUSTON (AFP) – Aaron Judge, Edwin Diaz, Tria Turner, Dansby Swanson and Xander Bogarts were among 131 players who became free agents Sunday as baseball’s business season kicked off just hours after the World Series Final was knocked out.
Justin Verlander, Jacob Degrom and Carlos Rodon are due to join them in the next few days, among 56 players with options contracts that must be decided within five days of the end of the world championships. All three bowlers are expected to reject player options, as is Carlos Correa and first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
Clayton Kershaw, Wilson Contreras, Brandon Nemo, Kenley Janson, Nathan Evaldi, Josh Bell and Andrew Benintende were also released on Sunday,
Some players, like Chris Bassett, a Mets player, have contracts with mutual options that must be decided. Approximately 55 additional players will likely be eligible for free agency depending on option decisions.
Players can start negotiating economic terms on Friday. The judge declined a contract offer from the New York Yankees in April that would pay $213.5 million from 2023 to 29. He set an AL record with 62 Homers, finished in a tie at the top of the Major League with 131 RBI and was second in the AL with a batting average of 0.311.
Teams have until Thursday to make qualifying bids worth $19.65 million for their former players who have become free agents. A qualified offer for a free agent can only be submitted if he has been with the same team consistently since opening day and has not received a qualifying offer before. The player has until November 20 to accept it.
If a team makes a qualifying offer for a player signing a major league contract with another club prior to next year’s amateur draft, its former club will receive a selection draft as compensation at the end of Round 1 or at the end of the Competitive Balance Round B. The placement depends on the new contract amount, revenue sharing, and the luxury tax status of the team that lost the player.
Qualifying bids began after the 2012 season, and only eight of 110 bids were accepted. Of the 14 players bid last year, only San Francisco’s number one baseman Brandon Bilt said yes.
Major League Baseball last winter offered to drop eligible bids and offset direct enlistment selection, and a shutdown settlement in March tied the proposal to the Players Association’s approval of an international amateur draft. The union rejected the draft in July.
Instead of becoming free agents, St. Louis Cardinals star Albert Pujols and Yadir Molina went on to voluntarily retired.
Washington left-hander Sean Doolittle became the first free agent to reach a deal, remaining with the Nationals under a minor league contract. Doolittle made his last appearance in six matches this year on April 19 and underwent surgery in July to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow, an internal brace procedure less severe than Tommy John’s surgery.
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