Under the new rules of the new CBA, MLB teams are required to make qualifying offers to any player headed for free agency in order to receive draft pick compensation should said player choose to sign elsewhere. By making an offer of a one-year deal that was equal to the average of the top 125 salaries in 2012, which this year ended up being $13.3M, teams would ensure that they receive a draft pick between the first and second rounds of the 2013 Draft should any free agent leave for another team. The Washington Nationals tonight offered a 1-year/$13.3M dollar deal to 32-year-old first baseman Adam LaRoche, but declined to do the same for 29-year-old right-hander Edwin Jackson.
Adam LaRoche now has until 5:00 pm EDT on November 9th to accept or reject the offer, though, as Washington Post writer Adam Kilgore noted tonight in an article on the process, "The offer does not preclude the Nationals from signing LaRoche to a contract of any length either this week or after he declines the offer." LaRoche, who declined the 1-year/$10M mutual option that was included in the 2-year/$16M dollar deal he signed in January of 2011, is expected to be looking for a multi-year deal after a strong +3.8 fWAR 2012 campaign in which he earned a Gold Glove for his work in the field, hit 35 doubles and a career-high 33 HRs while matching a career-best 100 RBIs.
Edwin Jackson, who signed a 1-year/$11M dollar deal with Washington late last winter, is thought to be looking for a multi-year deal as well, but the Nationals were apparently unwilling to take the chance that he would accept the 1-year/$13.3M dollar qualifying offer. Should E-Jax sign elsewhere after a 2012 campaign in which the 10-year-veteran was (10-11) with a 4.03 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 58 BB (2.75 BB/9) and 168 Ks (7.97 K/9) in 31 starts and 189.2 IP, the Nats will receive no compensation.
With Jackson unlikely to return the Nationals are expected to be in the market for another starter, as both the WaPost's Mr. Kilgore, MLB.com's Bill Ladson and others suggested tonight. The Washington Post writer suggested that he thought the Nationals would be looking for a veteran arm, "... to match with their four young starters," while mentioning the likes of Cards' starter Kyle Lohse and former Cubs' and Rangers' right-hander Ryan Dempster. Late Friday night, another name was added to the list of free agent starters with word out of Anaheim that the Angels had declined 32-year-old right-hander Dan Haren's $15.5M option, making the pitcher a free agent after two-plus years in the AL West in which the former Cards, A's and D-Backs' starter was (33-27) with a 3.52 ERA for LA.
As of midnight Friday night/Saturday morning, free agents are allowed to negotiate with all MLB teams following a five-day post-World Series period in which they could talk exclusively with the teams they played for in 2012.