MLB Qualifying Offer candidates and predictions in 2021

Kershaw warm up
Clayton Kershaw is one of the biggest names heading for free agency. Photo from Fox.

The MLB qualifying offer candidates 2021 are already salivating at all the money they can make starting next season. If you need to have the MLB qualifying offer explained, then look no further, you’ve come to the right place.

MLB Qualifying Offer candidates 2021

Major League Baseball’s qualifying offer pretty much assures that a team won’t lose its best free agent for nothing. By offering the player a qualifying offer, they make sure to get at least one compensatory Draft pick if the player decides to sign with another team.

Players who are eligible for a qualifying offer include all those who haven’t been handed one in the past and that spent the whole season with the team. Therefore, midseason additions aren’t eligible for this. Also, it’s worth noting that these are just one-year offers, meaning that the said player would become an unrestricted free agent at the end of that season if he doesn’t agree to a contract extension with his team.

MLB Qualifying Offer value

The MLB qualifying offer value sits at $18.4 million in 2021. That value is estimated by calculating the mean of the salary of the 125 highest-paid players in the league.

Last season, we saw stars of the likes of Trevor Bauer, J.T. Realmuto, DJ LeMahieu, Marcus Stroman, Kevin Gausman, and George Springer get qualifying offers.

But, now that we’ve had the MLB qualifying offer explained and we’ve seen who got one, let’s talk about who’ll get the next one.

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw has been a Dodger for life and that’s not likely to change. The team could be wary of signing him to a big contract as he’s coming off an injury-riddled season and didn’t look like his usual self for most of the year. Then again, he could also take a massive pay cut to try and run it back for a final season.

Kershaw admitted that he contemplated retirement last year after winning the World Series and chances are that he doesn’t want to keep playing for many more years. Other teams will still pursue him and try to overpay for his services but we don’t see him changing teams.


Robbie Ray

Robbie Ray is coming off a great season with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was the brightest spot and most consistent pitcher on their rotation, and you know that the Jays are eager to compete right away. There’s no chance they’ll let him go without a fight.

Ray finished the season with a 13-7 record and a 2.84 ERA. He struck out 248 hitters with a 1.04 WHIP and was a legit Cy Young candidate this year. The Jays need to add another reliable arm to their starting rotation to keep up with the Yankees and Boston, though.

Marcus Semien

It’s crazy to think that the Blue Jays didn’t make the playoffs despite having Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Marcus Semien on the same team. Given his versatility, Semien is due for a huge payday next season and the Canadians may not be able to retain him.

We’re talking about a guy who had 45 home runs and 102 RBIs with a .265 batting average and that’s a plus-defender at multiple positions. At 31 years old, he’s right in his prime and has a strong chance to sign the most lucrative deal of his career.

Trevor Story

Trevor Story was the guy everybody talked about through most of the season. Most people expected the Colorado Rockies to trade him while his value was high rather than just settle for a compensatory draft pick. There’s no way that he’ll go back to Colorado now.

Story is one of the best players about to hit free agency and it’s not a secret that the New York Yankees would be delighted to have him wearing pinstripes. He’d allow Gleyber Torres to shift to second base and would be reunited with his former teammate DJ LeMahieu. The Rockies will always be the team that wasted him and Nolan Arenado.

Carlos Rodon

Carlos Rodon is coming off the best year of his career. He was instrumental in helping the Chicago White Sox clinch their division for the first time in years, and was the most consistent arm in a starting rotation that featured plenty of talent.

Rodon won 13 games and lost 5 while posting a 2.37 ERA with 185 strikeouts and 0.96 WHIP. Southpaw starters who can post those kinds of numbers are always highly-coveted on the market, and keep an eye on the New York Yankees as he looks to sign a big deal next season.

Noah Syndergaard

It’s been a while since Noah Syndergaard last threw a complete season in Major League Baseball. He’s suffered a couple of setbacks in his recovery and some doubt he’ll ever be back to his former self after such a long layoff. Then again, he’s too talented not to take a chance on him.

That’s why, even though he doesn’t seem too pleased with the New York Mets and has taken several shots at them over the past couple of years, we still expect the controversial flamethrower to get a qualifying offer from the Queens’ club.

Corey Seager

Corey Seager was one of the main reasons why the Los Angeles Dodgers won last year’s World Series, winning World Series MVP honors. He picked up things where he left them this season, batting .306 with 16 home runs and 57 RBIs. But, unfortunately, he couldn’t agree on terms of an extension with the team throughout the season.

Seager will garner a lot of interest in free agency this season and the Dodgers will also have to try and find ways to keep Chris Taylor on board. So, we expect them to at least try and get some compensation in return in the case Seager wants to test his luck elsewhere.

Freddie Freeman

We don’t see Freddie Freeman ever leaving the Atlanta Braves, especially after leading them to their fourth World Series title in franchise history and the first since 1995. Then again, that doesn’t mean that multiple teams won’t pursue him in free agency.

Freeman is one of the most beloved and respected characters around Major League Baseball and his veteran leadership and powerful hitting could certainly come in handy for multiple teams. In the end, we expect him to head back home.

Carlos Correa

Carlos Correa is likely to be the most sought-after free agent this offseason. He’s one of the best defensive infielders in the league and has proven to be a timely, efficient, and clutch hitter throughout his career. But the Houston Astros may not have enough money to keep him around.

Correa could choose to take a one-year pay cut to try and run it back next to his buddy José Altuve. His competitive pride could lead him to that after suffering a heartbreaking loss in the World Series.

But, given how short the market for top-notch shortstops is nowadays, we wouldn’t count on that.

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