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Elephant Rumblings: Marcus Stroman (Mets), Kevin Gausman (Giants) accept qualifying offers

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New York Mets Summer Workouts Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Good morning afternoon, Athletics Nation!

At the beginning of the offseason, the Oakland A’s chose not to extend $18.9 million qualifying offers to their two star free agents, shortstop Marcus Semien and closer Liam Hendriks. That was almost certainly the correct decision, even if you think the A’s should try to bring either or both back this winter, because they won’t command nearly that much on the coronavirus-suppressed open market.

However, six other teams did extend QOs to their departing stars. All six players have now responded to those offers, and two of them accepted: pitchers Marcus Stroman of the New York Mets and Kevin Gausman of the San Francisco Giants.

The four rejecting their offers were catcher J.T. Realmuto (Phillies), second baseman D.J. LeMahieu (Yankees), outfielder George Springer (Astros), and pitcher Trevor Bauer (Reds), all of whom stand to earn significant long-term contracts. Bauer in particular just won the NL Cy Young, and LeMahieu is a finalist for AL MVP.

Stroman did not pitch in 2020, initially because of a calf injury and later because he opted out of the rest of the season in mid-August. However, he’s still considered one of the better pitchers in the league and would have been one of the top names on this winter’s free agent market, entering his age 30 campaign.

It was somewhat surprising to see Gausman receive a QO at all. He had a nice 2020 season, but it came after years of inconsistency amid a career that never quite lived up to his early prospect hype. The Giants apparently believe he’s for real moving forward (age 30 next year) and made sure to keep him in the city, especially after he publicly expressed a desire to stay in S.F. before the season had even ended. (For more details on Gausman, see the Chronicle link below.)

Although they are now committed to one-year contracts for 2021, both Stroman and Gausman could still negotiate long-term deals with their clubs if the respective parties are interested.

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