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The Rangers will give Nelson Cruz a qualifying offer so that the team will get a draft pick in case the slugger leaves.
The idea behind the qualifying offer is to provide compensation to teams that lose stars via free agency.
To receive a draft pick in exchange for an outgoing free agent, a team must extend a qualifying offer to the player. MLB and the MLB Players Association have set this year's qualifying offer at $14.1 million for a one-year deal.
The figure is an average of the top-125 contracts in baseball, and works out to an $800,000 bump up from last year.
If a player accepts the offer then the free-agency process is over. The player returns to the team on a one-year deal at $14.1 million. A team can only make a qualifying offer, however, if the free agent spent the entire season with the club.
If the player rejects the offer, however, the situation gets complicated.
Last offseason, nine players received qualifying offers, and all nine turned the offer down. If a player turns down a qualifying offer and goes on to sign with a new team, the former team gets a compensation pick at the end of the first round of the draft.
Meanwhile, the team that signed the player loses it's first-round pick. If the signing team's pick is within the top 10 in the draft then it is protected. Instead, the club loses it's next highest selection.
The idea is to compensate teams who lose big-name free agents. The catch is that a team can't just make a qualifying offer to any player in order to land a draft pick. There are only so many players worth $14 million per season, and for that reason a player like Rafael Furcal will not be receiving a qualifying offer.
So, what's the timeline on the qualifying offer process?