New York — Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman and San Francisco starter Kevin Gausman accepted $18.9 million qualifying offers Wednesday, receiving one-year deals to stay with their teams rather than test what they could get in free agency.
Four players declined qualifying offers at the 5 p.m. EST deadline: right-hander Trevor Bauer from Cincinnati, outfielder George Springer from Houston, second baseman DJ LeMahieu (Birmingham Brother Rice) from the New York Yankees and catcher J.T. Realmuto from Philadelphia.
If any of those players sign with a new team, his former club would receive a draft pick as compensation at the end of the first round of next year’s amateur draft or at the end of competitive balance round B. The placement depends on whether the new contract is worth $50 million or more and the revenue-sharing and luxury tax status of the team losing the player.
A team signing the player would give up either its third-highest draft pick, its second-highest pick and $500,000 of international signing bonus allotment or its second- and fifth-highest selections and $1 million of international signing bonus allotment, depending on revenue-sharing and luxury tax status of the signing club.
Qualifying offers began after the 2012 season, and only 10 of 96 offers have been accepted.
Other players among the 181 players who became free agents can sign without compensation. That group includes pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, outfielder Marcell Ozuna, shortstop Didi Gregorius and designated hitter Nelson Cruz.
Stroman, a 29-year-old right-hander, did not play this year. He missed the start of the shortened season in late July due to a torn left calf muscle, then said on Aug. 10 he had opted out because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A native of Long Island who grew up about 50 miles from Citi Field, Stroman announced his decision the day after new Mets owner Steve Cohen held an introductory news conference. Cohen bought the team last week from the Wilpon and Katz families for a baseball-record $2.42 billion.
“After watching the presser, I’m beyond excited to play for you sir,” Stroman posted on Twitter. “I could feel the excitement and passion you’re going to bring daily. Let’s go be great!”
“Marcus, That is great news,” Cohen replied on Twitter. “Looking forward to meeting you soon. I will call you over the next few days to thank you.”
Stroman rejoins a projected rotation that includes two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom and left-hander David Peterson, with Seth Lugo and Steven Matz also options. Lugo could return to the bullpen if the Mets find other starters this offseason, and the injury-prone Matz might be a non-tender candidate after going 0-5 with a 9.68 ERA.
Noah Syndergaard is expected to miss at least the first part of next season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Stroman was acquired by the Mets from Toronto in July 2019 for left-hander Anthony Kay and minor league right-hander Simeon Woods Richardson. He went 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA in 11 starts for New York, leaving his career record at 51-47 with 3.76 ERA.
By opting out, he gave up a little more than $3,250,414 of $4,444,444 in prorated pay from his $12 million salary.
Gausman, also a 29-year-old right-hander, signed a $9 million, one-year contract with San Francisco as a free agent last December and earned $3,333,333 in prorated pay while going 3-3 with a 3.62 ERA in 10 starts and two relief appearances. He struck out 79 and walked 16 in 59 2/3 innings.
Gausman has a 50-66 record and 4.26 ERA in nine seasons with Baltimore, Atlanta and San Francisco.
Just four free agents have agreements.
Right-hander Josh Tomlin decided to stay with the Atlanta Braves, agreeing Wednesday to a one-year contract that guarantees $1.25 million.
Tomlin gets a $1 million salary next season, and the deal includes a $1.25 million club option with a $250,000 buyout. He had a $1 million salary this year and earned $370,370 in prorated pay for the shortened season with the NL East champions.
The 36-year-old was 2-2 with a 4.76 ERA in 17 games. He had a 2.95 ERA in 12 relief appearance and a 6.33 ERA in five starts. He became a free agent after the World Series.
Tomlin signed with Atlanta in 2019 following nine seasons with Cleveland. He has a 4.69 career ERA. He 1.31 walks per nine innings ranks best among all active pitchers with at least 900 innings.