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Free Agent Market: Qualifying Offers

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Free Agent Market: Qualifying Offers

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ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 17: Nelson Cruz #17 of the Texas Rangers rounds third base after hitting a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 17, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

As free agency begins, there are several "experts" out there that believe the Texas Rangers will be one of the most prolific teams this winter in both free agency and trade.

The way free agency works is this: If a team makes a qualifying offer, set by the league this year at $14.1 million for one year, to one of its own free agents, that player can either accept the deal or sign elsewhere. If the player goes elsewhere, his former team receives a first-round draft pick as compensation. Look at it as a way to cover your bases, as the Rangers did last year when they offered Josh Hamilton the $13.3 million deal, knowing he'd decline it. They, in turn, got a first-round pick from the Angels as compensation for losing him.

This winter, there are several players who received qualifying offers, not necessarily decreasing the likelihood the Rangers would go after them, but definitely changing the way teams will approach the free agents.

Below is a list of free agents who received qualifying offers from their clubs. They have a week to decide on the offer. In parentheses, on a scale of 1-10, we'll gauge the Rangers' interest in the players.

Carlos Beltran, Cardinals (5)

Robinson Cano, Yankees (1)

Shin-Soo Choo, Reds (5)

Nelson Cruz, Rangers (8)

Stephen Drew, Red Sox (1)

Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox (7)

Curtis Granderson, Yankees (1)

Ubaldo Jimenez, Indians (6)

Hiroki Kuroda, Yankees (1)

Brian McCann, Braves (10)

Kendrys Morales, Mariners (5)

Mike Napoli, Red Sox (6)

Ervin Santana, Royals (8)

Who would you go after if you're the Rangers? Who would you avoid now that you know you'll have to surrender a first-round pick?

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