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Orioles make $15.3 million qualifying offer to Nelson Cruz, don't make one to Nick Markakis

The Orioles extended the one year, $15.3 million qualifying offer for 2015 to free agent Nelson Cruz. He has a week to decide whether or not to take it.

H. Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

In advance of Monday evening's deadline, the Orioles extended the one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer for 2015 to free agent Nelson Cruz, ensuring that if he signs elsewhere, the team will receive a draft pick between the first and second rounds of the draft. If another team signs Cruz, they'll lose their highest draft pick (top 11 protected).

There was nothing surprising about this move. Cruz will certainly decline it, as he should, because coming off of a 40 home run season where he proved he could succeed after his Biogenesis suspension, he's earned a multi-year deal. He will get one somewhere. Maybe it will be Baltimore, but if not, thanks for that one awesome year, Nelson.

Not included in the announcement about the Cruz qualifying offer is whether or not the Orioles extended the same to Markakis; however, since he isn't mentioned, it's assumed that he did not get one. That could mean either that the Orioles remain confident that they'll re-sign Markakis, or that they don't think he's worth a qualifying offer. Actually, both of these could well be true.

Over the weekend, MASN's Roch Kubatko said he's heard the Orioles and Markakis are discussing a four-year deal. The dollar amount isn't known, though MLBTR predicted that in a weak free agent market, Markakis could get a four-year, $48 million contract without a qualifying offer being attached to him.

If I was Markakis, $15 million for a year would sound pretty good. Perhaps that's why the O's didn't offer him one - he would have just taken it and they would have had no headway towards a multi-year deal in any case. At midnight tonight, Markakis becomes free to listen to offers from, and sign with, any team.

Cruz has a week to decide whether to accept or reject the qualifying offer. He is one of 12 MLB free agents to receive the offer this year. To date, no one has yet to accept one, though after Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales foundered this season, this could be the year that changes.

Along with the qualifying offer decision, the Orioles officially transferred Matt Wieters and Manny Machado off of the 60-day disabled list and back onto the 40-man roster. During the season, players on the 60-day DL don't take up roster spots. In the offseason, that sanctuary does not exist. The O's now have 33 players on their 40-man roster. Dan Duquette is twitching at the prospect of all that open roster space.