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MLB finalizes qualifying offers at $15.3 million

Potential free agents will now be a little more expensive for their current organizations to retain.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball and the player's association announced today that the price of qualifying offers made to potential free agents this offseason will be $15.3 million. Last year, the price was $14.1 million, which means the new amount is an 8.5 percent increase. The figure is calculated by taking the average annual value of the top 125 MLB contacts.

If a player is set to become a free agent, his current team may make a qualifying offer within five days after the World Series ends. If the player accepts, he's now on a one-year deal worth $15.3 million. If he doesn't, whomever he does sign with must surrender a draft pick.

This system, which has been in place since 2012, has caused some problems for free agents in past years. Players like Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales rejected their qualifying offers but found themselves in limbo when potential suitors didn't feel like their services were worth losing a draft pick.

The Mets, who have perpetually been awarded picks outside of the coveted top 10 protected slots, missed out on signing Drew and Michael Bourn in past years, supposedly because the club didn't want to lose its first-round picks.

For a team to make a qualifying offer, the player in question must have played for the club for the entire season. Players like Jon Lester who were traded mid-season are not eligible.

Is the new figure good news for the Mets? Maybe. New York will pick 15th in the June 2015 draft, so it would have to lose a pick in order to sign a player who rejects a qualifying offer. Also, this means Daniel Murphy will be more expensive should the Mets opt to retain him. On the bright side, since the figure is higher than it used to be, perhaps fewer qualifying offers will be handed out across the league.