The Red Sox have but one significant free-agent-to-be on their roster this fall: Jackie Bradley Jr. (Collin McHugh is also a free agent, but given his opt-out and his ongoing recovery from an arm issue, his status is uncertain).
As is the case with any pending free agent, the Red Sox will have the option of offering Bradley a qualifying offer within five days after the conclusion of the World Series. If a player accepts, he's effectively re-signed for the following season. If he declines, the player has compensation attached to him, resulting in a draft pick for his former team should he sign elsewhere. Free agents have 10 days to make their decision.
This year, the qualifying offer will be worth more than ever: $18.9 million. (The figure is arrived at annually by determining the average of the game's top 125 -- or top one-fifth -- highest-paid players).
At first blush, the notion of giving Bradley an almost $8 million raise -- even coming after arguably his best offensive season -- would seem absurd. Bradley's offensive inconsistencies are well-documented. And qualifying offers are typically reserved for perennial All-Stars. Bradley has been an All-Star just once in his first full six seasons.
Moreover, there were some in the Red Sox organization who argued for Bradley to be non-tendered last winter, thus avoiding having to pay him $11 million (pre pro-rata) salary for 2020. Chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom pushed back -- hard -- against that position.
But there is indeed a case to be made for offering Bradley the qualifying offer.