Ozuna turns down qualifying offer from Cardinals
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Marcell Ozuna is one of seven players who did not accept a $17.8 million qualifying offer from their 2019 teams as general managers headed home following their four-day annual meeting.
Ozuna was joined by pitchers Gerrit Cole (Houston), Stephen Strasburg (Washington), Zack Wheeler (New York Mets) and Madison Bumgarner (San Francisco) and third basemen Anthony Rendon (Washington) and Josh Donaldson (Atlanta).
Just 10 free agents received the offers on Nov. 4, and their former teams will receive draft-pick compensation if they sign elsewhere.
Using the threat to accept San Francisco’s offer, reliever Will Smith became the first of the 168 free agents to switch teams, agreeing Thursday to a three-year, $40 million contract with the Atlanta Braves.
Qualifying offers began after the 2012 season, and only eight of 90 offers have been accepted. The others were Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters, Houston outfielder Colby Rasmus and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Brett Anderson after the 2015 season; New York Mets second baseman Neil Walker and Philadelphia pitcher Jeremy Hellickson following the 2016 season; and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu last offseason.