Free Agent Clock Strikes Monday, 5PM–Sox View Choo


When the second hand on the Free Agent Clock passes 5 PM [EST] on Monday, Sox fans will know which of their team’s three players, who have received qualifying offers from the Cherington—Ellsbury, Drew, Napoli—have accepted them and who will test their value on the FA market.

We will also know which players turned down offers from all 30 teams and we can begin speculating about who the Red Sox should sign as Free Agents.

Pundits say that Napoli might take the Q.O., Drew is unlikely to settle for a 1-year contract–with SSs at a premium–and Ellsbury and Boras will seek a ton of money and a long contract that the Sox will not match.

The rumor mill suggests that the Red Sox are interested in FA Shin-Soo Choo, who can play any OF position and bat leadoff.

Conveniently, the annual meeting of general managers, held this year in Orlando, Fla.  Starts on the same day and runs until the 14th and that means it’s Open Season on trades and rumors.

Cherington and other GMs will be feeling out free-agent prices with some agents in attendance.

Owners meet on the final day, Nov. 14, and could approve rules for expanded video review of umpires’ calls and any other changes the owners believe are needed.  There may even be an attempt to hash out the territorial issues between the Giants and Athletics.

The Sox made $14.1 million qualifying offers to free agents Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Napoli and Stephen Drew on Monday, the first deadline day of baseball’s offseason, but did not make an offer to Saltalmacchia, who can shop himself around for a contract.

If the Sox who received Q.O.s, Ellsbury, Napoli, and Drew signs elsewhere, Boston would be compensated with an extra draft pick at the end of the first round next June.

If, say, Napoli was to accept Boston’s Q.O., he would return in 2014 on a one-year, $14.1 million contract.

Thirteen free agents received the offers, including Yankees’ Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Hiroki Kuroda.

Others receiving the offers were Atlanta catcher Brian McCann, Cincinnati outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, Cleveland pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, Kansas City pitcher Ervin Santana, St. Louis outfielder Carlos Beltran, Seattle designated hitter Kendrys Morales and Texas outfielder Nelson Cruz.

The 168 players who, did not receive a Q.O. and became MLB FAs were allowed to start talking contract with any team as of last Tuesday.

Last year David Ortiz was one of three players, including Hiroki Kuroda and Nats’s 1b Adam LaRoche, who accepted qualifying offers and stayed with their teams; the remaining 6 of the total of 9 Q.O.’s rejected their team’s offer.

The amount of the qualifying offer, which increased by $800,000 this year, is set by baseball’s collective bargaining agreement as the average of the 125 highest contracts.

If a different club signs a player who received a qualifying offer, that team gives up a high draft pick. The top 10 overall selections in the draft cannot be forfeited, and a team signing multiple qualified players would lose a corresponding amount of selections.

Here is a closer look at the offseason that awaits the Sox.

Arbitration-eligible: RHP Andrew Bailey , LHP Franklin Morales , LHP Andrew Miller , RHP Junichi Tazawa , 1B/OF Mike Carp

Free agents: OF Ellsbury, SS Drew, 1B Napoli, C Jarrod Saltalamacchia , RHP Joel Hanrahan