Detroit — When one season ends, another begins, which means that with the last pitch of the World Series, the focus of the baseball world instantly will turn to free agency.
So what's next?
As with all major-league clubs, the Tigers have until 5 p.m. of the fifth day after the World Series to make qualifying offers to their eligible free agents.
The price of a qualifying offer has risen this year to $15.3 million from the $14.1 million it was last year. With it set that high, of course, the Tigers are expected to make qualifying offers only to pitcher Max Scherzer and designated hitter Victor Martinez.
They are not expected to make qualifying offers to their five other free agents: Pitchers Phil Coke, Joba Chamberlain, Jim Johnson, Joel Hanrahan and outfielder Torii Hunter. But that will not mean they aren't interested in re-signing them at a lesser amount.
A qualifying offer opens the way for a club losing a premium free agent to receive a draft choice as compensation.
After receiving a qualifying offer, players have until 5 p.m. of the 12th day following the end of the World Series to accept it.
Acceptance is rare, however. All 22 major-league players receiving qualifying offers the last two years have rejected them.
If a player rejects the offer and signs with another club as a free agent, his former club receives a draft choice at the end of the first round the following June as compensation.