Yankees make qualifying offers to Soriano, Swisher, Kuroda
The deals are worth $13.3 million for one year, and if rejected, the players will become free agents. The offers ensure that the Yankees will receive Draft compensation if the players sign elsewhere.
Soriano and Swisher are not expected to accept the offers, a move which would permit them to seek multi-year contracts elsewhere. All players receiving qualifying offers have until next Friday to decide.
Kuroda may consider accepting the offer, coming off a strong debut season in the American League in which he earned $10 million. Kuroda, who turns 38 in February, was 16-11 with a 3.32 ERA in 32 regular season starts.
His performance might entice clubs to offer a multiple-year deal, but Kuroda has said in the past that he prefers going from year to year, so the qualifying offer represents something of a healthy raise from the Yankees.
The Yankees declined to make a qualifying offer to catcher Russell Martin, who might have accepted the $13.3 million figure after hitting .211 with 21 homers and 53 RBIs in 133 games.
The Yankees offered Martin a three-year extension in the $20 million range this spring and are thought to have interest in retaining Martin, who turns 30 in February, but not at that dollar value.
The matter of qualifying offers is new this season, thanks to changes in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The $13.3 million figure represents the average of the previous year’s top 125 free agent salaries.
If Soriano, Swisher and Kuroda decline the offers, they could still re-sign with the Yankees at a different price. Should the players sign with another team, the Yankees receive a compensation pick made between the first and second rounds by reverse order of winning percentage, while the signing team loses its first-round pick.
The top 10 picks of the Draft are protected, so any team holding a top 10 pick forfeits its second-round selection if it signs a player who received a qualifying offer (the Pirates’ No. 9 pick is safe, as it is compensation for failing to sign their first-round pick this year).