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What it would cost the Milwaukee Brewers to sign a free agent with the Qualifying Offer

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It costs more to sign premium talent.

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

What if the Milwaukee Brewers decide to spend big in the 2020-2021 offseason? Look, we all know it’s not going to happen, but just play with me in the space.

There are six free agents with the Qualifying Offer heading into the offseason:

  • RHP Trevor Bauer
  • RHP Kevin Gausman
  • IF DJ LeMahieu
  • C JT Realmuto
  • OF George Springer
  • RHP Marcus Stroman

Each of these players were issued a Qualifying Offer on their way to free agency, which this winter would be a one-year deal at a rate of $18.9 mil to return to their former team. They have 10 days from receipt to decide if they’d like to accept the offer, or turn it down and head to the open market. For some, the weight of draft-pick compensation won’t affect their outlook too much as they seek long-term deals. For others, the decision to accept a short-term payday versus gamble for a long-term contract will be more difficult.

The Milwaukee Brewers are in the lowest penalty bracket for signing a QO free agent as a team that would normally get money from revenue sharing. If they sign one, they forfeit their third-highest non-competitive balance pick. Should they sign two of the six free agents (could you imagine?), they’ll give up their third and fourth round picks.

Team that pay the competitive balance tax forfeit their second-highest pick for signing a qualified free agent. They’ll also lose $1,000,000 of their international pool. Finally, any other team loses its second-highest pick and $500,000 of its international signing pool.

I wouldn’t worry about it though. The Brewers have already cut $18.5 million in budget for next year and don’t seem like they’re looking to add that all back in one swoop. We can dream.