It may not be the long-term agreement fans are hoping to see, but the St. Louis Cardinals are expected to make the $15.8 million qualifying offer to outfielder Jason Heyward before Friday’s 4pm CT deadline.

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Players have the option of accepting the 1-year offer or becoming a free agent–with the ability to still negotiate with the club and any other. If Heyward were to sign with another team, the Cardinals would then receive draft pick compensation. For example, Michael Wacha was a compensation pick in 2012, awarded after Albert Pujols signed with the Angels.

The qualifying amount of $15.8 million is determined by averaging the salaries of the top 125 players from the past season.

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Pitcher John Lackey is also a possible candidate to receive the qualifying offer. While it’s expected another team will put bigger contract on the table in free agency, if Lackey were to take the qualifying offer, when combined with the league minimum of just over $500,000 that he pitched for in 2015, it’s still quite a bargain for St. Louis.

While Lackey has repeatedly shrugged off the discussing of financial desires, he has been equally strong in voicing desire to win another World Series ring and the Cardinals still offer that chance. Even with the young pitching waiting in the wings–Cooney, Gonzales, Reyes–depending on what may need to be included in a potential trade for offensive help, a pitcher of Lackey’s caliber may be more necessary than currently appears.

Players have until November 13th to accept or reject any qualifying offer.

photo credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports, Bill Greenblatt/UPI


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