Boston, MA, United States (4E Sports) – The Boston Red Sox have officially extended one-year qualifying offers to key players who helped them win the World Series.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said the team extended offers of $14.1 million to free agents center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, shortstop Stephen Drew and first baseman Mike Napoli.
Each player can choose to accept the offer and play 2014 with the one-year deal, or test free agency. If they choose free agency and sign with another team, that team forfeits a top pick and the Red Sox receive a compensatory pick in next season’s first-year player draft.
However, the Red Sox did not make a qualifying offer to free-agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, meaning a team can sign him without giving up a draft pick.
“With all of our free agents there’s interest in every one of them,” Cherington said. “I also think it’s unlikely that every one of them will be back just because of the nature of the game, it’s difficult to do that.”
Aside from Saltalamacchia, the Red Sox did not make qualifying offers to infielder John McDonald and injured reliever Joel Hanrahan.
Saltalamacchia set career highs in average (.273), RBIs (65), doubles (40) and several other categories as the primary catcher for a rejuvenated rotation. He will be among the top free-agent targets at the position, along with the Braves’ Brian McCann.
Just in case Ellsbury and Drew opt to reject qualifying offers, the presence of outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and shortstop/third baseman Xander Bogaerts would help the organization better handle their departures.
The three players have until Nov. 11 to accept the qualifying offers. If they reject them, they can still negotiate with their teams.