Major League Baseball organizations had until today at 5 PM eastern to offer their impending free agents qualifying offers.
A qualifying offer is a one-year, $15.8 million deal, which is the average of the top 125 one-year salaries in the game. Any impending free agent can be offered a qualifying offer, however, that player must have spent the entire season with the organization that is offering them the deal (i.e. traded players like Johnny Cueto cannot be offered a qualifying offer).
If the player accepts the qualifying offer, they are basically re-signing with their former club to a one-year, $15.8 million deal.
If the player rejects the qualifying offer, they become a free agent as scheduled. However, if they sign with a different team, then their original team (the team they are coming from) will receive an extra first round draft pick at the end of the first round. The team that signs the player loses their first round pick, as long as they are not within the top 10 in the draft order (which in that case, they would lose their second round pick).
In the three-year history of the qualifying offer, no player has accepted the deal.
An MLB-record 20 players were offered a qualifying offer today. They have one week to make a decision whether they want to accept or decline the deal: