ST. LOUIS -- Though the Cardinals aren't expected to engage in long-term contract talks with free agent Lance Lynn, the organization did extend a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer to the right-hander before Monday's 4 p.m. CT deadline.
As a first-time free agent, Lynn is seeking a multiyear contract and is therefore not expected to accept the Cardinals' one-year offer. Officially, he has until 4 p.m. CT on Nov. 16 to make that decision.
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"Look, if Lance were to accept it, that'd be fine with us," general manager Michael Girsch said of the club's decision to make the qualifying offer. "That's when it becomes a pretty easy decision. The only time it becomes a hard decision is if you're putting something out there that you want the person to say no to. That makes you a little queasy. But he's a guy who if we can get him back for one year, $17.4 [million], that'd be great. If not, then we'll see where it goes."
If a qualifying offer is accepted, it is binding for both parties. If a player declines and signs elsewhere, his original team receives compensation based on contract value and/or market size.
As a club that does not receive revenue sharing and did not exceed the luxury-tax salary threshold last season, the Cardinals would pick up a compensatory Draft selection after Competitive Balance Round B should Lynn sign elsewhere. The value of his new contract would not be a factor in determining the slot of that pick.
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Lynn hits the free-agent market at 30 years old and on the heels of a successful return from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander made a team-high 33 starts in 2017, finishing with an 11-8 record and 3.43 ERA. His home run rate (1.3 per nine innings) and walk rate (10.1 percent) were career highs, but Lynn's durability and career ERA+ of 124 should make him one of the more attractive free-agent starters.
Lynn has said repeatedly that he'd welcome an opportunity to return to the Cardinals, who drafted him 39th overall out of the University of Mississippi in 2008. However, the organization did not engage in extension talks with him during the season and have identified other priorities this offseason.
The Cardinals did not make qualifying offers to any of their other free agents -- Seung Hwan Oh, Juan Nicasio and Zach Duke.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.