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Francisco Liriano, Russell Martin decline qualifying offers

Joe Sargent

Francisco Liriano has declined a $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Bucs, Ken Rosenthal reports. There was a bit of drama about whether Liriano would accept, but it's not surprising that he didn't -- given his age, this year represents a clear chance for him to land a multi-year contract.

Russell Martin also declined the Pirates' qualifying offer, which surely was an easy decision, given that the qualifying offer shouldn't be an impediment to him getting paid, the way it might be, to a degree, with Liriano.

If Liriano and Martin sign elsewhere, the Pirates will get two extra draft picks at the end of the first round of next year's draft. In addition, the fact that potential signing teams will have to give up a draft pick to sign Liriano gives the Pirates a bit of extra leverage to re-sign him this offseason.

None of the 12 players who were extended qualifying offers accepted them, and it's still the case that no one has ever accepted one. Perhaps teams should begin extending them a little more liberally -- wherever the threshold is at which a player will accept a qualifying offer, no one has found it yet.

Good for the Pirates for taking the (very small) risk on Martin and Liriano, by the way. The Bucs will have to make significant efforts to replace Martin and Liriano's talent if they sign elsewhere, of course, but at the very least, watching the first round of next year's draft will be entertaining, and the Pirates will have a workable draft bonus pool even though their first pick won't be until somewhere in the early 20s.