Kansas City Royals Expected to Extend Three Qualifying Offers

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Mike Moustakas
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 30: Mike Moustakas /

Eight Kansas City Royals players officially became free agents on Thursday. It’s expected that only three will receive qualifying offers. Here’s what that means for those players and the front office.

The most terrifying offseason in recent memory began Thursday for the Kansas City Royals. An adequate assessment of the franchise won’t be available until after the dust (or perhaps snow) settles from a surely wild winter. However, the first move toward that end came with eight players becoming unrestricted free agents.

According to Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, three of those players should expect a qualifying offer. Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain seem destined to receive the one-year, $17.4 million offer. All three will surely decline, hitting the open market in search of long-term deals.

But the offers still play a key role in the future of the organization. If a given player turns down a qualifying offer and signs with another team, then one of two things happen.

According to Dodd, should the player sign a contract worth under $50 million dollars, the Kansas City Royals would be given an additional draft pick in the Competitive Balance Round B, which takes place between the second and third rounds. If the player inks a deal worth more than $50 million, then the team receives a compensatory pick that would occur following the first round.

Basically, the Kansas City Royals would guarantee themselves some combination of three additional picks before the third round and three high-level free agents. Most fans are probably hoping for a combination of the two. Some would view this as having your cake and eating it too. Arguably, the best-case scenario for the franchise would be to re-sign Hosmer on a reasonable deal, while Moustakas and Cain land $50-plus million contracts elsewhere.

Other Free Agents

Outside of those three, five other players became free agents on Thursday. It’s possible, though incredibly unlikely, that those individuals could receive a qualifying offer. Jason Vargas would be the most likely candidate. But Dodd said his sources have confirmed Vargas and Alcides Escobar won’t receive a qualifying offer. That doesn’t mean they can’t be re-signed, but it does mean the Kansas City Royals would receive nothing in return should they sign elsewhere.

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However, it’s clearly the smart decision. They would likely accept the offer, and neither player is worth $17.4 million for one year. It’s not even a discussion whether the other free agents — Peter Moylan, Melky Cabrera and Trevor Cahill — will receive an offer.

A name that hasn’t been mentioned yet is Mike Minor. That’s because he’s technically not a free agent, yet. Minor and the Kansas City Royals have a mutual option for 2018 that he seems certain to decline. After a career resurrection in 2017, Minor could be set for a nice payday. A left-handed option out of the bullpen who pitches well enough against righties to be a setup man or closer is someone a lot of teams will be interested in.

There’s a very slim chance that Minor draws a qualifying offer. But it would be a shock. Then again, this entire offseason will likely be full of surprises. Might as well start early.

Next: Where Royals Free Agents Will Sign

What do you think, fans? Is the team better off trying to re-sign Hosmer, Moose and Cain or letting them walk to use the draft picks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.