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MLB qualifying offer: Brandon Belt accepts Giants’ $18.4 million offer; Story, Taylor, more decline

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Wednesday is the deadline for the 14 free agents who received a qualifying offer to either accept or reject the one-year, $18.4 million contract. The qualifying offer is set at the average of the top 125 salaries in baseball, and players who accept it return to their team on that one-year deal, and players who reject it are tied to draft pick compensation.

Here are the 14 free agents who received the qualifying offer this year. Only six free agents received it last offseason, and the 14 are the most since a record 20 free agents received the qualifying offer in 2015-16.

Free agents who were traded at midseason (like Kris Bryant, Nelson Cruz, and Max Scherzer) are not eligible to receive the qualifying offer, ditto free agents who have received a qualifying offer previously (like Kevin Gausman and Marcus Stroman). If you’re curious why a big name free agent didn’t receive the qualifying offer, he probably falls into one of those two buckets.

As noted, the deadline to accept or reject the qualifying offer is Wednesday, Nov. 17. Players can — and have — make their decision prior to that date, however. Here’s an update on players who have already made their qualifying offer decision.

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Accepted qualifying offer

Despite indications the two sides would attempt to work out a new multi-year contract, Belt will accept the qualifying offer and remain with the Giants, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post. There is no free agent compensation when a player accepts the qualifying offer, so San Francisco will neither receive nor forfeit a draft pick. Belt is back with the Giants on the one-year, $18.4 million contract, and he will be a free agent again next offseason.

Rejected qualifying offer

After opting out of the final two years and $34 million remaining on his contract, Castellanos has rejected the qualifying offer, reports Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Castellanos was always a lock to reject it. No chance he would opt out of $34 million only to turn around and take the $18.4 million qualifying offer. The Reds will receive a compensation draft pick before the third round if Castellanos signs a deal worth less than $50 million, and a compensation draft pick after the first round if he signs a contract worth $50 million or more. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Castellanos the No. 14 free agent on the market.

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Conforto will indeed decline the qualifying offer, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. He appeared to be a candidate to accept it given his down, injury-interrupted season, but some early offseason canvasing by agent Scott Boras presumably revealed enough interest in Conforto to turn down the qualifying offer. The Mets will receive a compensation draft pick before the third round if Conforto signs a deal worth less than $50 million, and a compensation draft pick after the first round if he signs a contract worth at least $50 million. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Conforto the No. 23 free agent on the market.

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No surprise here, as Correa is coming off possibly the best season of his career. He’s fresh off winning the AL platinum glove, awarded to the single best defensive player in each league. The two-time All-Star also had a pretty prolific offensive season as well, posting a 131 OPS+ with 34 doubles and 26 homers. Entering his age-27 season as a stellar offensive and defensive player at a premium position, he’s in for a monster payday. 

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Iglesias will indeed turn down the Angels’ qualifying offer and become a free agent, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. Iglesias, who turns 32 in January, is coming off a 2021 season in which he posted a 2.57 ERA and a sparkling 8.58 K/BB ratio in 70 innings for the Angels. He also converted 34 of 39 save opportunities. For his career, Iglesias owns a strong ERA+ of 142. 

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Rodriguez turned down the Red Sox’s qualifying offer and wound up signing a five-year, $77 million pact with the Tigers. 

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As expected, Seager has declined the qualifying offer, reports Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times. Seager has a nine-figure contract coming his way this offseason even while attached to draft pick compensation. Because the Dodgers paid luxury tax this season, they will only receive a compensation draft pick after the fourth round should Seager sign elsewhere, regardless of contract size. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Seager the No. 2 free agent on the market.

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Free agency the first time around was bad timing for Semien. His career year was in 2019 and then he had a rough 2020 during the pandemic-shortened season. It forced him to take a one-year deal and move positions. His response was to play like it was 2019 all over again in 2021, surely setting himself up for a big, long-term contract this time around. As such, it’s no surprise at all that he declined the qualifying offer. 

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Story not surprisingly turned down the Rockies’ QO and hits the market as part of a deep shortstop class. His underlying indicators at the plate remain strong, particularly by the standards of his position, but his troublesome throwing elbow could be a source of hesitation for some teams. That said, he’s a fine consolation prize for teams missing out on Carlos Correa and Corey Seager.

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Syndergaard turned down the qualifying offer from the Mets in favor of signing a one-year, $21 million contract with the Angels.

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Taylor is expected to decline the qualifying offer, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman. Taylor has reportedly been a popular target early in free agency, which is not a surprise given his offensive production and ability to play just about anywhere on the field. Similar to Seager, the Dodgers will only receive a compensation draft pick after the fourth round should Taylor sign elsewhere regardless of contract size because they paid luxury tax this year. Our R.J. Anderson ranked Taylor the No. 12 free agent on the market.





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Jacobs, defence lead Raiders to first win of season over Broncos

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Just when it looked as if the Las Vegas Raiders might blow another fourth-quarter lead, they put the ball in the hands of Josh Jacobs and the running game to finish off the Denver Broncos.

The emphatic game-sealing drive gave Josh McDaniels his first win as a head coach since being fired by Denver in 2010 and backed up the message he gave his players all week.

“He said it to the offense and defense: You should want the burden to finish the game, not hoping that someone else does their thing or they they fix the problem,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “Whatever the game asked for, it’s our turn to do our job.”

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The Raiders did just that. Jacobs ran for a career-high 144 yards and two touchdowns, Amik Robertson returned a fumble 68 yards for a score and the Raiders beat the Broncos 32-23 on Sunday.

After opening their first season under McDaniels by losing three straight one-score games, including a blown 20-point lead to Arizona in Week 2, the Raiders (1-3) managed to do enough on the ground and on defense to hold off Russell Wilson and the Broncos (2-2).

“We kind of had the mindset we wanted this to be a physical game and leaned on Josh and the running game a little bit more than what we have and really established that,” McDaniels said. “Our goal was to try to make it that kind of game and make it a fourth-quarter game.”

Maxx Crosby had two of Las Vegas’ three sacks, and Robertson had the game-changing play late in the first half as Denver repeatedly failed to take advantage of good field position.

After getting a 5-yard TD pass from Wilson to Courtland Sutton to cap a 34-yard drive in the first quarter, the Broncos turned three other chances with prime field position into one field goal and the fumble by Melvin Gordon III that Robertson returned for the touchdown.

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Wilson had his most efficient game of his short tenure in Denver, completing 17 of 25 passes for 237 yards and two TDs. He also ran for a 3-yard TD that cut the Raiders’ lead to 25-23 after completing a 55-yard pass to KJ Hamler.

But Denver scored only once on six drives in the second half.

“We have to get better,” first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett said. “Across the board as an offense, I think we will.”

Jacobs put it away with a 7-yard TD run with 2:01 to play. He became the first Raiders player to rush for at least 130 yards and two TDs in a game since Darren McFadden did it in 2011 against the Jets.

“We had to go down there and call game,” Crosby said. “Josh Jacobs is a damn baller. That’s been my brother since day one. I’m so happy for him. He went down there and closed the game.”

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Carr didn’t have to do much for the Raiders, completing 21 of 34 passes for 188 yards as Las Vegas got the running game going for the first time this season. Davante Adams had nine catches for 101 yards.

Jacobs scored on a 10-yard run in the second quarter and set up a field goal in the third with a 42-yard run that was his longest since his rookie season in 2019.

The Raiders finished with 212 yards rushing for their most in a game since getting 218 against the Broncos in 2016.

“He’s one of the best runners that I’ve ever been around,” McDaniels said about Jacobs. “I’ve been around some good ones. He has a great ability to make yards after contact. He has a great ability to make yards even if there’s not a whole lot there right away.”

SURPRISE SCORE

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The Raiders’ defense got into the scoring mode for a change when Duron Harmon forced Gordon’s fumble and Robertson took it to the end zone.

It was the first TD by the Raiders’ defense or special teams since Erik Harris had a pick-6 against the Chargers on Nov. 7, 2019. The 43 regular season games without one was the second longest of the Super Bowl era, trailing only a 49-game streak by the Browns from 1979-82.

The play came shortly after Broncos receiver Jerry Jeudy motioned at the 5-foot-8 Robertson that he was too short to cover him.

“Once he started talking, it kind of elevated my play,” Robertson said.

NOT SO SPECIAL

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Both teams had their issues on special teams with Tyron Johnson botching a punt return that backed the Raiders up near their goal line in the first quarter.

Las Vegas also set up Denver with good field position when a surprise onside kick failed.

Both teams also missed extra points in the second quarter with Daniel Carlson missing his first kick of any kind this season for the Raiders and Denver’s Brandon McManus missing his second in the past two seasons.

INJURIES

Broncos: RB Javonte Williams and edge rusher Randy Gregory both left the game with knee injuries in the second half and will have MRIs to determine the severity. … S P.J. Locke and LB Aaron Patrick left the game with concussions.

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Raiders: LB Denzel Perryman left with a concussion in the first half.

UP NEXT

Broncos: Host Indianapolis on Thursday night.

Raiders: Visit Kansas City on Monday, Oct. 10.

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FOX Bet Super 6: Three contestants win Terry Bradshaw's $1,000,000 prize

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Three contestants won a piece of Terry Bradshaw’s $1,000,000 jackpot in the FOX Bet Super 6 NFL Sunday Challenge. Find out how they won!



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Packers beat Patriots in overtime, but Aaron Rodgers' trust issues remain

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Aaron Rodgers struggled in the first half and doesn’t feel comfortable throwing to his young receivers. But the Packers persevered.



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