In a press conference Monday afternoon, Boston Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington announced that free agents Jacoby Ellsbury, Stephen Drew and Mike Napoli have been given a one-year qualifying offer of $14.1 million for 2014 reports Comcast Sports New England's Maureen Mullen.
#RedSox make it official: Q offers to Ellsbury, Napoli, Drew. Not to Salty.— Maureen Mullen (@MaureenaMullen) November 4, 2013
Free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who made $4.5 million last year, was not given an offer.
The trio of Ellsbury, Drew and Napoli could take the Red Sox offer or decline it. If one of the players chooses to decline the offer and sign elsewhere, the Red Sox would be due the signing team's first- or second-round draft pick in exchange. Any team with a Top 11 pick in next summer's MLB Draft will have that first pick protected, therefore Boston would get a second-rounder instead.
All three players would see their salaries increase from 2013 if they tae the offer, but it is unlikely Ellsbury or Napoli will accept.
Ellsbury is a first-time free agent hoping to score a seven-year deal in the neighborhood of $140 million while Napoli is looking for a three-year extension for $45 million.
One of the questions the Sox front office answered by Monday's announcement was where they thought Xavier Bogaerts was in his career development. Bogaerts, widely considered to be the shortstop of tomorrow, played a key role in the playoffs for the Red Sox at third base over Will Middlebrooks. In making the offer to Drew—one he is likely to accept as his salary for 2013 was $9.5 million—they either think Bogaerts is not ready to be the full-time shortstop or they will use him more at third for the struggling Middlebrooks.
Boston would love to get all four of their free agents back on the roster for 2014, but the odds of Ellsbury signing elsewhere are high.
If Saltalamacchia leaves, the Red Sox will receive no player compensation. Any team that might be interested in Napoli or Drew will now have to balance whether giving up such a high draft pick is worth the expected $15 million per season cost.
*All contract information courtesy of Baseball Reference.
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