Trevor Bauer rejected his one-year, $18.9 million qualifying offer on Thursday, according to a tweet from his agent.
It was an expected move and is typically a formality for top free agents. Six players were extended qualifying offers this year: Bauer, J.T. Realmuto (Philadelphia Phillies), George Springer (Houston Astros), DJ LeMahieu (New York Yankees), Marcus Stroman (New York Mets) and Kevin Gausman (San Francisco Giants).
The move doesn’t affect the Cincinnati Reds’ pursuit of Bauer in free agency, but it assures them of draft-pick compensation if he signs with another team. The draft pick could be after the first round or before the third round depending on the guaranteed total of Bauer’s contract.
Bauer had until Nov. 11 to accept or decline the qualifying offer. Just eight of the 90 players who have been extended qualifying offers have chosen to accept them since it was established in 2012, according to MLB.com, and one of those players, José Abreu, later signed a three-year contract extension.
“Why wait for the QO to expire to state the obvious (plus @BauerOutage believes the QO is a ridiculous process so let’s just put it to bed),” tweeted Rachel Luba, Bauer’s agent. “Trevor Bauer has rejected the QO but not the Reds and he looks forward to speaking w/ them and all other interested teams thru Free Agency.”
Bauer, a finalist to win the National League Cy Young, is the top pitcher on the free-agent market and could sign for the…