What happened. Free agent RHP Lance Lynn declined the St. Louis Cardinals’ 1 year, $17.4 million qualifying offer to remain a free agent. As a result, the Cardinals will get a Competitive Balance Round B pick in next summer’s draft regardless of how much Lynn signs for.
The story. Teams can offer their outgoing free agents a one year “qualifying offer” that this year was valued at $17.4 million. If the player accepts, they are no longer a free agent and are under the terms of that qualifying offer. If the player rejects the offer and then signs with another team the team can receive a compensatory draft pick.
For a player like Lynn, he is in free agency looking for bigger money and more years than the one year qualifying offer, so he declined it.
The numbers. How much Lynn stands to gain on the free agent market has been a big question. Personally, I see him between $110 and $125 million over 5 years. However MLB Trade Rumors had him at 4 years, $56 million and Fangraphs had him at 3 years, $48 million. That’s a stark difference.
The impact. 1/10. He was going to reject this offer anyway. Though I believe he could have benefited from betting on himself again and returning for another year. Prove that 2017 was no fluke and that the wall he hit in September was purely because he didn’t pitch in 2016.
However, he may not have been enthused about the idea of accepting a one year return to St. Louis given that the club didn’t make any contact about negotiating a contract extension last year.
Personally, if he does fall to the ranges that are suggested by MLBTR and Fangraphs, it would behoove the Cardinals to jump onboard and bring Lynn back. I get the argument that he isn’t the kind of guy you want to drop $25 million a year on, but if the number gets down into the $14 to $16 million range, the arguments lose steam quickly given his track record.