The #Pirates have extended one-year qualifying offers to catcher @russellmartin55 and LHP Francisco Liriano.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) November 3, 2014
Those qualifying offers will each be worth $15.3M to each player so the Pirates essentially have $30.6M of payroll sitting on the table for the 2015 season.
Now, as most people know, the players do not have to accept the qualifying offer. If they accept the offer they will play on the one year contract. If they do not they will become a free agent, with a catch. If they were to sign with another team the Pirates would receive a first round pick compensation of each player.
First thing is first, Russell Martin is not accepting his qualifying offer. He is going to make a boatload of money this season and seeing that he is the only viable option on the free agent market at the catching position a draft pick is not going to deter a team from signing him. The Pirates will most likely lose Martin and receive a draft pick as a "reward" for not signing him.
Francisco Liriano is a little different. Liriano has been a huge success story for the Pirates over the past couple of seasons but with injuries and some inconsistent pitching this year it probably puts him right around market value at the $15.3M. To be perfectly honest I didn't think the Pirates were going to extend the offer to Liriano, but I am glad they did.
I don't really think the Pirates can lose here. If he does accept the Pirates will have a top of the rotation arm for market value for a rotation that wasn't good last year. If he doesn't accept the Pirates will get compensation for him. I think that Liriano's value is going to take a hit thanks to the QO because teams won't be as willing to give up a draft pick to pay market value (or over market depending on how you value Liriano).
I think in the end someone does attempt to sign Liriano, because everyone needs pitching. Does he accept the Pirates qualifying offer? I have no idea. No player has ever accepted a qualifying offer and I honestly don't think Liriano is join got either. It does make it interesting though as Liriano is one of the few guys that actually has a shot of signing it. Either way I think it was a good move by the Pirates to offer.