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Today’s main event: Qualifying offers

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[2]Today really is something new and different for baseball, and with this game, that’s rarely the case.

Teams have until 5 p.m. to make qualifying offers to free agents. Under the new rules, [3]a rejected qualifying offer is the only way for a team to receive compensation if a player signs elsewhere. Basically, for a team to be get a draft pick for losing a player, that team has to have been willing to pay the player $13.3 million to stay. And for a player carry the stigma of draft pick compensation, he has to first turn down a substantial one-year offer.

The Yankees have to consider three qualifying offers.

Nick Swisher — Will almost certainly get one. Even if he accepted, it wouldn’t be a bad thing for the Yankees.

Rafael Soriano — Some risk in offering one because it would guarantee him a small raise from this season, but it’s far more likely that he’s after a multi-year deal.

Hiroki Kuroda — It would probably be an overpay to give Kuroda $13.3 million, but not much of an overpay, and it would secure a one-year deal to fill a glaring hole in the rotation.

Players have seven days to accept or decline a qualifying offer.

Today’s deadline is simply the next step in the early stages of baseball’s offseason. The Yankees pro scouting meetings are over, and they’re ready for the free agent market to open. Of course, once the market opens, things can change in a big way.

“We’ve had our meetings,” Brian Cashman said. “I wouldn’t say there’s a plan in place yet. The plan constantly evolves because you have to get input from the agents and the clubs.”

Associated Press photo