NY Yankees slugger DJ LeMahieu, Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto, and Houston Astros’ outfielder George Springer have all rejected the $18.9 million qualifying offers from their respective teams, the MLB Players’ Association has announced on Wednesday. All three players will now enter free agency, joining Cincinnati Reds’ ace Trevor Bauer, who rejected his qualifying offer several days ago.
Two remaining players with qualifying offers, NY Mets’ Marcus Stroman and San Francisco Giants’ Kevin Gausman, elected to accept them and will stay with the same teams on one-year, $18.9 million contracts for the 2021 MLB season.
LeMahieu, Realmuto, and Springer’s decisions don’t come as a surprise considering the trio is set for a big payday in the free agency.
DJ LeMahieu led the MLB with a .364 batting average in the 2020 season, while hitting 10 home runs and contributing with 27 RBIs as well. He was named American League’s batting champion and was the recipient of the Silver Slugger Award.
There is a good chance that LeMahieu will remain with the Yankees, but the organization will have to dig deep into its pockets to make this happen.
But signing LeMahieu will probably be significantly less pricey than getting J.T. Realmuto. The 29-year-old catcher said on several previous occasions that he wants his new deal to shatter the record for a catcher and then some.
Realmuto’s high demands will most likely leave Philadelphia Phillies out of the race, so it highly likely that he suits up for another franchise next season. He batted .266 in 2020 for the Phillies and added 11 homers and 32 RBIs.
Finally, George Springer, who had 14 home runs in the shortened 2020 MLB season, is also knocking on the doors of a big contract. Astros remain the favorites to re-sign him, considering his importance to the team, but several other franchises, including Toronto Blue Jays, will give Houston a run for their money.