When the latest collective bargaining agreement was unveiled, there were new rules in place for free agent compensation. No longer would the Elias Rankings determine Type A and Type B players, a designation which told clubs whether they would receive first- or second-round picks in exchange for losing their talent. Instead, qualifying offers were brought into play, and without a qualifying offer, a team would not receive compensation.
These qualifying offers were all the same amount, regardless of player, as it was based on the average salaries of baseball's top 125 paid players. It was expected to be in the $12.5 million range for its first season, as that was about where the 125 player average was heading into 2012. All of the lucrative extensions have changed those numbers a bit in the ensuing months, though, and now, according to Buster Olney, the qualifying offer now sits at $13.3M-$13.4M instead.
This does affect the Red Sox, but only with one player in regards to the 2012-2013 off-season: David Ortiz. Boston's designated hitter is making $14.75M after avoiding arbitration this past winter, and this jump in the qualifying offer likely means two things. One, that Boston can offer Ortiz the qualifying offer at minimum, in order to punish any club who decides to offer him a multi-year deal. (If such an offer exists, anyway). This would give them at least a compensation pick should Ortiz truly be fed up with one-year deals. Second, it makes it that much less likely that another team is going to even offer Ortiz a one-year contract, as roughly one million has been slapped on the price tag for a DH who is one year older than he was the last time there was no market for him outside of Boston. Both of those thoughts just assume that the Sox are going to offer the minimum, too: they could simply send him another contract for 2012's amount, and make that their qualifying offer and starting point.
None of Boston's other impending free agents will receive a qualifying offer, as Cody Ross, Vicente Padilla, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Kelly Shoppach, and Aaron Cook could all be had for far less than that, most of them even on a multi-year deal.