Ohtani, Bellinger, Montgomery, Snell head free agent market. Players can start contract talks Monday

NEW YORK (AP) — Shohei Ohtani, Cody Bellinger, Jordan Montgomery, Blake Snell and Aaron Nola were among the 130 players who became free agents Thursday as baseball's business season began the day following the Texas Rangers' first World Series title.

Max Muncy, Joe Jiménez and Colin Rea gave up a chance to go free and agreed to new contracts with their teams.

That free agent market also includes Sonny Gray, Josh Hader, Matt Chapman, Jorge Soler and J.D. Martinez.

Minnesota prevented outfielder Max Kepler and infielder Jorge Polanco from going free, exercising a $10 million option on Kepler and and $10.5 million option on Polanco. Each would have been owed a $1 million buyout had the option been declined.

At the start of the day, 61 additional players had the potential to go free by Monday, depending on decisions on options and opt outs.

Players may start negotiating with any team at 5 p.m. EST Monday, also the deadline for teams to make qualifying offers. Players may receive a qualifying offer if they spent the entire season with the team and have not previously received a qualifying offer. The amount is the average of the top 125 contracts by average annual value.

This year's offer price is $20,625,000, up from $19.65 million last year.

Qualifying offers began after the 2012 season, and 10 of 124 offers have been accepted. Among the 14 players given offers last year, the only players to accept were outfielder Joc Pederson with San Francisco and left-hander Martín Pérez with Texas.

Rather than go free, Muncy agreed to a $24 million, two-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jiménez agreed to a $26 million, three-year contract with Atlanta and Rea got a $4.5 million, one-year contract with Milwaukee. The Brewers declined a $7.25 million option on left-hander Andrew Chafin and a $2.5 million option on left-hander Justin Wilson. They owe buyouts of $750,000 to Chafin and $150,000 to Wilson.

Washington declined a $3.3 million option on outfielder Victor Robles, who would be eligible for arbitration if tendered a contract.


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