According to Joel Sherman of the NY Post, Major League Baseball’s Qualifying Offer (QO) will increase from $19.65 million last November to a new record high of $20.5 million for pending 2023-24 free agents.
MLB and the MLB Players Association will agree to the number within 10 days after the end of the 2023 regular season, and the figure is based off of the mean salary of the 125 highest player salaries in 2023.
MLB defines the QO system here: “In the qualifying offer system, clubs wishing to receive compensatory Draft picks for the loss of a free agent can make a one-year "qualifying offer," worth the mean salary of MLB's 125 highest-paid players, to their impending free agents prior to the onset of free agency if and only if:
1. That player has never received a qualifying offer previously in his career.
2. That player spent the entire season on that team's roster (in-season acquisitions are ineligible).”
The NY Post article also notes that qualifying offers, “have been extended to 124 players in its history and just 13 of them have accepted that one-year offer.” Of the 14 players who were tendered QOs following last season, only Joc Pederson (Giants) and Martín Pérez (Rangers) accepted them.
The current Toronto Blue Jays front office has tendered QOs in the past, most famously to José Bautista and Edwin Encarnación following the 2016 season, to starter Marco Estrada after the 2015 season, and to both Marcus Semien and Robbie Ray following the 2021 season. They declined to tender offers to Steven Matz after 2021 and Ross Stripling after 2022, to name a few who might also have been under consideration.
Hyun-Jin Ryu was the only player to accept the $17.9M QO after the 2018 season, when he decided to return for one more season with the Dodgers. Brandon Belt also accepted the $18.4M QO to return for one year to the Giants in 2022. So because they’ve both already received a QO previously, they are ineligible to receive another one from Toronto. Ace Kevin Gausman also previously bet on himself, accepting an $18.9M QO from the Giants for the 2021 season; Marcus Stroman did the same with the Mets that year.